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973*3 ^ v.l 60-05055 

Fiske 

The American revolution 




i iiiiiiiiiiiiMiiLii 






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00100 7095 



. JFtafee'is J)uitorital SSttarfes* 



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HOUGHTON MIFFLIN CO., BOSTON. 



THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 



BY 

JOHN FISKE 



IN TWO VOLUMES 
VOL, I. 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 



Copyright, 1891, 
BY JOHN FISKE. 

AU rights reserved 



To 
MRS. MAEY HEMENWAY 

BECOGNITION OF THE BABE FOBESIGHT AND PUBLIC SPIRIT 

WHICH SAVED FBOM DESTBUCTION ONE OF THE NOBLEST 

EISTOBIC BUILDINGS IN AMEBICA, AND MADE IT A 

CENTBE FOB THE TEACHING OF AMEBICAN 

HISTORY AND THE PRINCIPLES OF 

GOOD CITIZENSHIP 

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK 



PBEFACE. 



IK the course of my work as assistant librarian 
of Harvard University, about seventeen years ago, 
I had occasion to overhaul what we used to call the 
" American Koom," and to superintend or revise 
the cataloguing of some thousands of titles of vol- 
umes and pamphlets relating to America. In the 
course of this work my attention was called more 
and more to sundry problems and speculations 
connected with the transplantation of European 
communities to American, soil, their development 
under the new conditions, and the effect of all this 
upon the general progress of civilization. The 
study of aboriginal America Itself presented many 
other interesting problems. In 1879, 1881, and 
1882, I gave courses of lectures at the Old South 
Meeting-House in Boston, in aid of the fund for 
the preservation of that venerable building, and in 
pursuance of Mrs. Hemenway's scheme for making 
it a place for the teaching of American history. 
As to the success of that scheme we may now 
speak with some satisfaction. The preservation of 



vi PREFACE. 

the noble old church may be regarded as assured ; 
the courses of instruction there given in American 
history and cognate subjects are attended by thou- 
sands, old and young, especially by school-teachers 
and their pupils; and similar courses of study 
have already been inaugurated in several other 
cities and towns. It is believed that the good 
results of this work will be manifold. 

As regards my lectures, just mentioned, they 
dealt chiefly with the discovery and colonization of 
America, and contained sundry generalizations 
since embodied in "American Political Ideas" 
and in the first chapter of "The Beginnings of 
New England." Some further generalizations of 
a similar sort will be worked out in my forthcom- 
ing book now in press " The Discovery of 
America.'* 

While busy in this work, the plan occurred to 
me in 1881 of writing a narrative history of the 
United States, neither too long to be manageable 
nor too brief to be interesting, something that 
might comprise the whole story from 1492 to (say) 
1865 within four octavos, like the book of my 
lamented friend, the late John Richard Green. 
Plans of this sort, to be properly carried out, re- 
quire much time, and a concurrence of favourable 
circumstances, as Mr. Cotter Morison has pointed 
out in his sketch of Gibbon. If my plan is ever 
fully realized, it can only be after many years. 



PMSFACK vii 

Meanwhile it has seemed to me that fragments of 
the work might as well "be published from time to 
time as to be lying idle in manuscript in a cup- 
board. It was with this feeling that " The Criti- 
cal Period of American History " and " The Be- 
ginnings of New England " were brought out, and 
it is with the same feeling that these volumes on 
" The American Revolution. " are now offered to 
the public. 

In writing the story of this period my design 
was not so much to contribute new facts as to 
shape the narrative in such a way as to emphasize 
relations of cause and effect that are often buried 
in the mass of details. One is constantly tempted, 
in such a narrative, to pause for discussion, and to 
add item upon item of circumstantial description 
because it is interesting in itself ; but in conform- 
ity with the plan of the book of which this was to 
have been a part, it was necessary to withstand 
such temptations. I have not even undertaken to 
mention all the events of the Revolutionary War. 
For example, nothing is said about the Penobscot 
expedition, which was a matter of interest to the 
people of Massachusetts, but of no significance in 
relation to the general history of the war. 

The present work is in no sense " based upon " 
lectures, but it has been used as a basis for lec- 
tures. When I had nearly finished writing it, in 
1883, 1 happened to read a few passages to some 



Viil PEEFAGK 

friends, and was thereupon urged to read the 
whole work, or the greater part of It, as lec- 
tures. 

This was done in the Old South Meetlng-House 
early in 1884. The lectures were afterward given 
In many towns and cities, from Maine to Oregon, 
usually to very large audiences. In Boston, New 
York, and St. Louis the whole course was given 
from two to five times; and single lectures were 
repeated In many places. I was greatly surprised 
at the interest thus shown in a plain narrative of 
events already well known, and have never to this 
day understood the secret of it. 

On some accounts I should have been glad to 
withhold this book some years longer, in the hope 
of changing its plan somewhat and giving the sub- 
ject a fuller treatment, now that it is not to appear 
as part of a larger work. But so many requests 
have been made for the story in book form that it 
has seemed best to yield to them. In relation to 
these two volumes, " The Critical Period of Ameri- 
can History " now stands as a third volume* The 
narrative is continuous from the one to the other. 

I have not thought it worth while to add to the 
present work a bibliographical note, because, in 
view of the existence of Mr. Justin Wmsor's 
"Eeader's Handbook of the American Kevolu- 
tion," such a note would be quite superfluous. Mr. 
Winsor's book contains a vast amount of biblio- 



PMEFACE. i x 

graphical information, most lucidly arranged, 
within a very small compass, and costs but a trifle, 
From it the general reader can find out where to 
go " for further information concerning any and 
all points that may come up in these volumes ; and 
if then he still wants more, he may consult the 
sixth and seventh volumes of Winsor's " Narrative 
and Critical History of America." 

The portrait of Washington prefixed to this vol- 
ume is now engraved, I believe, for the first time. 
It is from a miniature enamelled on copper by 
Henry Bone, R. A., an artist preeminent for skill 
In such work. Bone appears to have followed an 
original crayon sketch of "Washington made in 
1796 by William Birch, to whom he has given 
credit by putting his initials, W* B., on the minia- 
ture. This has given rise to an error ; the initials 
have been mistaken for those of Bone himself, 
who has thus been wrongly spoken of as a Wil- 
liam" Bone. The miniature was made for a 
family in England. After some years this fam- 
ily became straitened in circumstances, and the 
miniature was bought by George Peabody, who 
gave it to a lady in London interested in such 
things. By 1870 this lady in turn became desir- 
ous of obtaining its value, and a communication 
upon the subject was published in the Proceedings 
of the Massachusetts Historical Society for April 



X PREFACE. 

of tliat year* It has since then come Into the 
hands of Mrs, Hemenway of Boston, its present 
owner, 

My thanks are due to Messrs, G. P. Putnam's 
Sons for permission to use the map of the battle 
of Monmouth. 

ST. Louis, April 14* 189L 



CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER I. 

THE BE0INOTNGS. 

PAGS 

Relations "between the American colonies and the Brit- 
ish government in the first half of the eighteenth cen- 
tury I 

The Lords of Trade ....... 2 

The governors' salaries ,....* 3 

Sir Robert Walpole 4 

Views of the Lords of Trade as to the need for a union 

of the colonies . 5 

Weakness of the sentiment of union . . . * 6 

The Albany Congress 7 

Franklin's plan for a federal union (1754) * * 8, 9 

Rejection of Franklin's plan .10 

Shirley recommends a stamp act .... 11 

The writs of assistance 12 

The chief justice of New York , * . . 13 
Otis's" Vindication" ....... 14 

Expenses of the French War . * * * 15 
Orenville's resolves ..** * 16 
Reply of the colonies .*.** 17 
Passage of the Stamp Act . * * 17, 18 
Patrick Henry and the Parsons' Cause .18, 19 
Resolutions of Virginia concerning the Stamp Act . 20 

The Stamp Act Congress 21, 22 

Declaration of the Massachusetts assembly * * 22 
Resistance to the Stamp Act in Boston ... 23 

And in New York 24 

Debate in the House of Commons . * * 25, 26 



jdi CONTENTS. 

Kepeal of tlie Stamp Act 27 

The Duke of Grafton's ministry . . . . . 28 
Charles Townshend and his revenue acts . . 29-31 
Attack upon the Few York assembly . . .31, 32 
Parliament did not properly represent the British peo- 
ple . . . . * . . - -32,33 

Difficulty of the problem 34 

Representation of Americans in Parliament 35 
Mr. Gladstone and the Boers . - . 36, 37 

Death of Townshend 38 

His political legacy to George III. . . .38 

Character of George III 39,40 

English parties between 1760 and 1784. * .41 

George III. as a politician 42 

His chief reason for quarrelling with the Americans 43-45 

CHAPTEK II. 

THE CRISIS. 

Character of Lord North 46 

John Dickinson and the " Farmer's Letters '* . . 47 

The Massachusetts circular letter 48 

Lord Hillsborough's instructions to Bernard . . 49 

The " Illustrious Ninety-Two " 50 

Impressment of citizens ...... 51 

Affair of the sloop Liberty 51, 52 

Statute of Henry Till, concerning " treason committed 

abroad " 53 

Samuel Adams makes up his mind (1768) . . 54-57 
Arrival of troops in Boston . 58, 59 

Letters of "Vindex" 60 

Debate in Parliament 60~6i^ 

All the Townshend acts, except the one imposing a duty 

upon tea, to be repealed ,....* 6'2 

Recall of Governor Bernard 62 

Character of Thomas Hutchinson . . . .63 

Resolutions of Virginia concerning the Townshend acts 64 
Conduct of the troops in Boston ..... 65 



CONTENTS. xiii 

Assault on James Otis 65 

The " Boston Massacre " 66-68 

Some of its lessons .....* 60-72 
Lord North becomes prime minister . . .71 
Action o the New York merchants . 73 
Assemblies convened in strange places . . . 74 

Taxes in Maryland 74 

The " Begulators " in North Carolina . . .75 

Affair of the schooner G-aspee 76 

The salaries of the Massachusetts judges . 77 
Jonathan Mayhew's suggestion (1766) . . . 78 
The committees of correspondence in Massachusetts , 79 
Intercolonial committees of correspondence , 80 
Bevival of the question of taxation . . .81 
The king's ingenious scheme for tricking the Americans 

into buying the East India Company's tea . 82, 83 
How Boston became the battle-ground . . . .84 
Advice solemnly sought and given by the Massachusetts 

towns 84,85 

Arrival of the tea ; meeting at the Old South . , 85-8? 
The tea-ships placed under guard . 87 

Botch's dilatory manoeuvres , . . 88 
Great torm-meeting at the Old South . , .89, 90 
The tea thrown into the harbour 90 

Moral grandeur of the scene .... 91, 92 
How Parliament received the news . . . . 93, 94 

The Boston Port Bill . , 95 

The Kegulating Act 95, 96 

Act relating to the shooting of citizens * .96 
The quartering of troops in towns 97 

The Quebec Act . 97 

General Gage sent to Boston 97, 08 

CHAPTEE III. 

THE CONTINENTAL CONGKESS. 

Protests of the "Whig Lords .100 

Belief that the Americans would not fight . * * 101 



xiv CONTENTS. 

Belief that Massachusetts would not be supported by 

the other colonies 102 

News of the Port Bill 102, 103 

Samuel Adams at Salem 104:, 105 

Massachusetts nullifies the Regulating- Act . . 100 
John Hancock and Joseph Warren . ,107 

The Suffolk County Eesolves 108 

Provincial Congress in Massachusetts . , 109 
First meeting of the Continental Congress (September 

6,1774) 110 

Debates in Parliament ,,.,. 111,112 
William Howe appointed commander-m-chief of the 

forces in America 112 

Richard, Lord Howe, appointed admiral of the fleet . 113 

Franklin returns to America 114 

State of feeling in the middle colonies . . . 115 
Lord North's mistaken hopes of securing New Tork .116 

Affairs in Massachusetts ,117 

Dr. Warren's oration at the Old South . , . .118 
Attempt to corrupt Samuel Adams . . . ' * 119 
Orders to arrest Adams and Hancock 120 

Paul Revere's ride 121 

Pitcairn fires upon the yeomanry at Lexington . , 122 
The troops repulsed at Concord ; their dangerous situa- 
tion 123 

The retreating troops rescued by Lord Percy . 124 
Retreat continued from Lexington to Charlestown . 125 
Rising of the country ; the British besieged in Boston 126 
Effects of the news in England and in America - . 127 
Mecklenburg County Resolves ..... 128 
Legend of the Mecklenburg " Declaration of Indepen- 
dence " 129 

Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen . . . 129, 130 
Capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point , . * 131 
Second meeting o* the Continental Congress . , 132 
Appointment of George Washington to command the 

Continental army 133-136 

The siege of Boston .**, 136 
Gage's proclamation .*.. 137 



CONTENTS, xv 

The Americans occupy Bunker's and Breed's hills . 138 
Arrival of Putnam, Stark, and Warren * . 139 

Gage decides to try an assault 140 

First assault repulsed 140 

Second assault repulsed 141 

Prescott's powder gives out ... 142 
Third assault succeeds ; the British take the hill . 142 

British and American losses 143 

Excessive slaughter ; significance of the "battle 144, 145 
Its moral effects 146 



CHAPTER IV. 

INDEPENDENCE. 

Washington's arrival in Cambridge .... 147 
Continental officers : Daniel Morgan . . 148 
Benedict Arnold, John Stark, John Sullivan . . .149 
Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox .... 150 
Israel Putnam ..... 151 

Horatio Gates and Charles Lee 151 

Lee's personal peculiarities 152, 153 

Dr. Benjamin Church ... 153 
Difficult work for Washington .... 154-156 
Absence of governmental organization . . 156 
New government of Massachusetts (July, 1775) . . 157 
Congress sends a last petition to the king . . 158, 159 
The king issues a proclamation, and tries to hire troops 

from Russia 160 

Catherine refuses ; the king hires German troops . 161 

Indignation in Germany 162 

Burning of Falmouth (Portland) 163 
Effects of all this upon Congress .... 164 
Montgomery's invasion of Canada and capture of Mon- 
treal 165 

Arnold's march through the wilderness of Maine . * 166 
Assault upon Quebec (December 31, 1775) * 167 
Total failure of the attempt upon Canada 168 
The siege of Boston 169 



xvi CONTENTS. 

Washington seizes Dorchester Heights (March 4, 1776) 170 
Ihe British troops evacuate Boston (March 17) . 171 
Movement toward independence ; a provisional flag 

(January 1, 1776) 172 

Effect of the hiring of " myrmidons " . . . .172 

Thomas Paine 173 

His pamphlet entitled " Common Sense " . 174 

Fulminations and counter-fulminations . . 175 

The Scots in North Carolina 176 

Sir Henry Clinton sails for the Carolines . . .170 
The fight at Moore's Creek ; North Carolina declares 

for independence 177 

Action of South Carolina and Georgia .... 178 
Affairs in Virginia ; Lord Dunmore's proclamation . 178 
Skirmish at the Great Bridge, and burning of Norfolk . 179 
Virginia declares for independence .... 180 
Action of Rhode Island and Massachusetts . . .181 
Resolution adopted in Congress May 15 . . 181, 182 
Instructions from the Boston town-meeting . . . 182 
Richard Henry Lee's motion in Congress . . . 183 

Debate on Lee's motion 184 

Action of the other colonies ; Connecticut and New 

Hampshire 185 

New Jersey 185 

Pennsylvania and Delaware . 185-187 

Maryland ........ 187, 188 

The situation in New York 188-100 

The Tryon plot 190 

Final debate on Lee's motion . . . .193 

Vote on Lee's motion 192 

Form of the Declaration of Independence . . 193 

Thomas Jefferson 193,194 

The declaration was a deliberate expression of the sober 

thought of the American people . . . 195-197 



CONTENTS, 
CHAPTER V. 

FIRST BLOW AT THE CEKTRE. 

Lord Cornwallis arrives upon the scene . . . 198 
Battle of Fort Moultrie (June 28, 1776) . . 199, 200 
British plan for conquering the valley of the Hudson, 

and cutting" the United Colonies in twain . 201 
Lord Howe's futile attempt to negotiate with Washing- 
ton unofficially 202, 203 

The military prohlem at New York . . . 204-206 

Importance of Brooklyn Heights 206 

Battle of Long Island (August 27, 1776) . . 207-210 
Howe prepares to "besiege the Heights .... 210 
But Washington slips away with his army . . 211 
And robs the British of the most golden opportunity 

ever offered them 212 

The conference at Staten Island 213 

General Howe takes the city of New York Septein- 

her 15 214 

But Mrs. Lindley Murray saves the garrison . . 215 

Attack upon Harlem Heights 215 

The new prohlem before Howe ..... 216 
He moves upon Throg's Neck, but Washington changes 

base 217 

Baffled at White Plains, Howe tries a new plan . 217, 218 
Washington's orders in view of the emergency . . 218 
Congress meddles with the situation and muddles it . 219 
Howe takes Fort Washington by storm (November 16) 220 

Washington and Greene 221 

Outrageous conduct of Charles Lee . . . 221, 222 
Greene barely escapes from Fort Lee (November 20) . 223 
Lee intrigues against Washington .... 224 
Washington retreats into Pennsylvania * . 224, 225 
Beinforcements come from Schuyler .... 226 
Fortunately for the Americans, the British capture 

Charles Lee (December 13) . . . . 226, 227 
The times that tried men's souls ..... 228 
Washington prepares to strike back 229 



xviii CONTENTS. 

He crosses the Delaware, and pierces tlie British centre 

at Trenton (December 26) 230 

Coruwallis comes up to retrieve the disaster . . 231 
And thinks he has run down the " old fox " at the As- 

sunpink (January 2, 1777) 232 

But Washington prepares a checkmate , . 232 
And again severs the British line at Princeton (Janu- 
ary 3) 233 

General retreat of the British upon New York . . 234 
The tables completely turned .... 235, 236 

Washington's superb generalship 237 

ESects in England .238 

And in France 239 

Franklin's arrival in France 240 

Secret aid from France ...... 241 

Lafayette goes to America 242 

Efforts toward remodelling the Continental army 243-248 

CHAPTER VI. 

SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE, 

Invasion of New York by Sir Guy Carleton . * . 249 

Arnold's preparations 250 

Battle of Valcour Island (October 11, 1776) . . 251 
Congress promotes five junior brigadiers over Arnold 

(February 19, 1777) 252 

Character of Philip Schuyler . 253 

Horatio Gates 254,255 

Gates intrigues against Schuyler .... 256 
His unseemly behaviour before Congress . . . 257 

Charges against Arnold 257, 258 

Arnold defeats Tryon at Eidgefield (April 27, 1777) . 259 
Preparations for the summer campaign . . . 260 
The military centre of the United States was the state 

of New York 261 

A second blow was to be struck at the centre ; the plan 

of campaign ... .. 262 
The plan was unsound ; it separated the British forces 



CONTENTS. XIX 

too widely, and gave the Americans the advantage of 

interior lines ....... 263, 264 

G-ermaine's fatal error ; he overestimated the strength 

of the Tories . 265 

Too many unknown quantities .... 265, 260 
Danger from New England ignored . . . . 266 
Germaine's negligence ; the dispatch, that was never 

sent 267 

Burgoyne advances upon Ticonderoga . . . 268 
Phillips seizes Mount Defiance ..... 269 
Evacuation of Ticonderoga .... 269, 270 

Battle of Hubbardton (July 7) 270 

One swallow does not make a summer . . . 271 
The king's glee ; wrath of John Adams . . . 271 
Gates was chiefly to blame * 272 

Burgoyne's difficulties beginning 273 

Schuyler wisely evacuates Fort Edward . . . 273 
Enemies gathering in Burgoyne's rear .... 274 
Use of Indian auxiliaries .... 275 

Burgoyne's address to the chiefs 275 

Burke ridicules the address 276 

The story of Jane McCrea 277-279 

The Indians desert Burgoyne . . . <, . . 280 
Importance of Benningfcon ; Burgoyne sends a German 

force against it 280, 281 

Stark prepares to receive the Germans .... 282 

Battle of Bennington (August 16) ; nearly the whole 

German army captured on the field . . . 283, 284 
Effect of the news ; Burgoyne's enemies multiply . 285 
Advance of St. Leger upon Fort Stanwix . . . 286 
Herkimer marches against him ; Herkimer's plan . 287 
Failure of the plan ....... 288 

Thayendanegea prepares an ambuscade . . 288 
Battle of Oriskany (August 6) .... 289, 290 

Ketreat of the Tories 290 

Betreat of the patriot army 291 

Colonel Willett's sortie ; first hoisting of the stars and 

stripes 291 

Death of Herkimer 292 



XX CONTENTS. 

Arnold arrives at Sehuyler's camp . . . 293 

And volunteers to retrieve Fort Stanwix . . * 294 
Yan Yost Cuyler and his stratagem . 295 

Flight of St. Leger (August 22) .... 295 
Burgoyne's dangerous situation ..... 29(5 
Schuyler superseded by Gates .... 296, 297 
Position of the two armies (August 19-September 12) 

297, 298 



CHAPTER VII. 

SARATOGA. 

Why Sir William Howe went to Chesapeake Bay . 299 

Charles Lee in captivity SCO 

Treason of Charles Lee ..... 301-303 
Folly of moving- upon Philadelphia as the " rebel capi- 
tal" ... 303,304 

Effect of Lee's advice 305 

Washington's masterly campaign in New Jersey (June, 

1777) 306 

Uncertainty as to Howe's next movements . . . 307 
Howe's letter to Burgoyne .... 308, 309 
Comments of Washington and Greene .... 310 
Howe's alleged reason trumped up and worthless . 310 
Burgoyne's fate was practically decided when Howe 

arrived at Elkton 311 

Washington's reasons for offering "battle . . . 312 
He chooses a very strong position .... 313 
Battle of the Brandywine (September 11) . . 313-316 
Washington's skill in detaining the enemy . . 317 
The British enter Philadelphia (September 26) . . 317 
Significance of Forts Mercer and MifQin . . . 318 
The situation at Germantown .... 318, 319 
Washington's audacious plan ..... 320 
Battle of Germantown (October 4) ... 321-323 
Howe captures Forts Mercer and Mifflin . . * 324 
Burgoyne recognizes the fatal error of Germain . . 325 
Nevertheless he crosses the Hudson Eiver . . 326 



CONTENTS. xxl 

First battle at Freeman's Farm (September 19) . 326, 327 
Quarrel between Gates and Arnold .... 328 

Burgoyne's supplies cut off 329 

Second battle at Freeman's Farm (October 7) ; the 

British totally defeated by Arnold . . . 330-332 
The British army is surrounded . 333 

Sir Henry Clinton comes up the river, but it Is too late 334 

The silver bullet 335 

Burgoyne surrenders (October 17) ... 335-338 
Schuyler's magnanimity ...... 338 

Bad faith of Congress 339-342 

The behaviour of Congress was simply inexcusable . 342 
What became of the captured army .... 343 

PORTRAIT AND MAPS. 

George Washington, from a miniature enamelled on cop- 
per by Henry Bone, R. A., after a crayon portrait 
made in 1796 by William Birch . . . Frontispiece 
Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776* from Stedman's 

American War, with some additions . . . 208 
Operations in New York and New Jersey, 1776-1777, 

from a sketch by the author 218 

Burgoyne's campaign, July October, 1777, ditto . 262 
Battle of the Brandywine, September 11, 1777, ditto . 314 
Battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777, ditto . . 320 
First battle at Freeman's Farm, September 19, 1777, 

ditto 326 

Second battle at Freeman's Farm, October 7, 1777, also 

called battle of Bemis Heights, or of Stillwater, ditto 332 
Surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, October 17, 1777, 
ditto 336 



THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION* 



CHAPTER L 

THE BEGINNINGS. 

the seventy years which elapsed between 
the overthrow of the Stuart dynasty and the vic- 
tory of Wolfe on the Heights of Abraham, the 
relations between the American colonies and the 
British government were, on the whole, peaceful \ 
and the history of the colonies, except for the great 
and romantic struggle with New France, would 
have been almost destitute of striking incidents. In 
view of the perpetual menace from France, it was 
manifestly unwise for the British government to 
irritate the colonies, or do anything to weaken their 
loyalty ; and they were accordingly left very much 
to themselves* Still, they were not likely to be 
treated with any great liberality, for such was not 
then, as it is hardly even yet, the way of govern- 
ments, and if fcheir attachment to England still 
continued strong, it was in spite of the general 
demeanour of the mother -country. Since 1675 
the general supervision of the colonies had been 
in the hands of a standing committee of the 
Privy Council, styled the " Lords of the Com- 
mittee of Trade and Plantations," and familiarly 



2 THE AMEEIGAN REVOLUTION. 

known as the " Lords o Trade." To this board 
The Lords of ^ ie governors sent frequent and full 
Trade. reports of the proceeding's in the colonial 

legislatures, of the state of agriculture and trade, 
of the revenues of the colonies, and of the way in 
which the public money was spent. In private let- 
ters, too, the governors poured forth their com- 
plaints Into the ears of the Lords of Trade, and these 
complaints were many and loud. Except in Penn- 
sylvania and Maryland, which were like hereditary 
monarchies, and in Connecticut and Rhode Island, 
where the governors were elected by the people, 
the colonial governors were BOW Invariably ap- 
pointed by the Crown. In most cases they were 
inclined to take high views regarding the royal 
prerogative, and in nearly all cases they were un- 
able to understand the political attitude of the col- 
onists, who on the one hand gloried in their connec- 
tion with England, and on the other hand, precisely 
because they were Englishmen, were unwilling to 
yield on any occasion whatsoever one jot or tittle 
of their ancient liberties. Moreover, through the 
ubiquity of the popular assemblies and the direct- 
ness of their control over the administration of 
public affairs, the political life of America was both 
really and ostensibly freer than that of England 
was at that time ; and the ancient liberties of Eng- 
lishmen, if not better preserved, were at least more 
conspicuously asserted. As a natural consequence, 
the royal governors were continually trying to do 
things which the people would not let them do, they 
were In a chronic state of angry warfare with their 
assemblies, and they were incessant in their com- 



BEGINNINGS* g 

plaints to the Lords of Trade. They represented 
the Americans as factious and turbulent people, 
with their heads turned by queer political crotchets, 
unwilling to obey the laws, and eager to break off 
their connection with the British Empire, In this 
way they did much to arouse an unfriendly feeling 
toward the colonies, although eminent Englishmen 
were not wanting who understood American affairs 
too well to let their opinions be thus lightly influ- 
enced. Upon the Lords of Trade these misrepre- 
sentations wrought with so much effect that now 
and then they would send out instructions to sus- 
pend the writ of habeas co?ym,s, or to abridge 
the freedom of the press. Sometimes their acts 
were absurdly arbitrary. In New Hampshire, the 
people maintained that as free-born Englishmen 
they had the right to choose their representatives ; 
but the governor held, on the contrary, that this 
was no right, but only a privilege, which the Crown 
might withhold, or grant, or revoke, all at its own 
good pleasure. To uphold the royal prerogative, 
the governor was instructed to issue writs for elec- 
tions to some of the towns, while withholding them 
from others ; but the resistance of the people to this 
piece of tyranny was so determined that the Lords 
of Trade thought it best to yield. In Massachu^ 
setts, for more than thirty years, there went on an 
unceasing controversy between the General Court 
and the successive royal governors, Shute, Bnrnet, 
and Belcher, with reference to the gov- The governor 
ernor's salary. The Lords of Trade in- salary - 
sisted that the governor should be paid a fixed 
salary ; but lest this should make the governor too 



4 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION*. 

independent, the General Court obstinately refused 
to establish a salary, but made grants to the gov- 
ernor from year to year, in imitation of the time- 
honoured usage of Parliament. This method was, 
no doubt, inconvenient for the governors ; but the 
colonists rightly valued it as one of the safeguards 
of popular liberty, and to their persistent refusal 
the Crown was obliged to give way. Similar con* 
troversies, in New York and South Carolina, were 
attended with similar results; while in Virginia the 
assembly more than once refused to vote supplies, 
on the ground that the liberties of the colony were 
In danger. 

Such grievances as these, reported year by year 
to the Lords of Trade, and losing nothing in the 
manner in which they were told, went far to create 
in England an opinion that America was a lawless 
country, and sorely in need of a strong govern- 
ment. From time to time various schemes were 
proposed for limiting the powers of the colonial 
assemblies, for increasing the power of the gov- 
ernors, for introducing a titled nobility, for taxing 
the colonists by act of Parliament, or for weakening 
the feeling of local independence by uniting several 
colonies into one. Until after the French troubles 
had been disposed of, little came of any of these 
SIT Robert schemes. A plan for taxing the colonies 
waipoie. wag once p r0 p 0se( | to gj r ifokert Wai- 
pole, but the sagacious old statesman dismissed it 
with a laugh. What !" said he. " I have half of 
Old England set against me already, and do you 
think 1 will have all New England likewise?" 
From time to time the liberal charters of Rhode 



THE BEGINNINGS. 5 

Island and Connecticut were threatened, but noth- 
ing came of this. But in one direction the Lords of 
Trade were more active. One of their most cher- 
ished plans was to bring about a union of all the 
colonies under a single head ; but this was not to be 
a union of the kind which the Americans, with con- 
summate statesmanship, afterward wrought out for 
themselves. It was not to be a union based upon 
the idea of the sacredness of local self-government, 
but it was a union to be achieved, as far as possible, 
at the expense of local self-government. To bring 
all the colonies together under a single viceroy 
would, it was thought, diminish seriously the power 
of each local assembly, while at the same time such 
a union would no doubt make the military strength 
of the colonies much more available in case of war. 
In 1764, Francis Bernard, governor of Massachu- 
setts, wrote that " to settle the American govern- 
ments to the greatest possible advantage, it will be 
necessary to reduce the number of them ; in some 
places to unite and consolidate ; in others to sep- 
arate and transfer ; and in general to divide by 
natural boundaries instead of imaginary lines. K 
there should be but one form of government estab- 
lished for the North American provinces, it would 
greatly facilitate the reformation of them." As 
long ago as 1701, Eobert Livingston of New York 
had made similar suggestions ; and in 1752,, Din- 
widdie of Virginia recommended that the Northern 
and Southern colonies be united respectively into 
two great confederacies. 

The desirableness of bringing about a union of 
the colonies was also recognized by all the most 



6 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

liberal-minded American "statesmen, though from a 
very different point of view. They agreed with the 

royal governors and with the Lords of Trade aw to 
the urgent need for concentrating the military 
strength of the colonies, and they thought that this 
end could best be subserved by some kind of federal 
union. But at the same time they held that the 
integrity of the loeal self-government of each col- 
ony was of the first importance, and that no system 
of federation would be practicable which should in 
any degree essentially impair that integrity. To 
bring about a federal union on such terms was no 
easy matter ; it was a task fitted to tax the great- 
est of statesmen at any time. At that time it was 
undoubtedly a hopeless task. The need 

Weakness of , . ,. ,. , .-, 

the sentiment for union was not generally telt by fcJbe 
o umon. p eo pl e0 The sympathies between the 
different colonies were weak and liable to be over- 
borne by prejudices arising from rivalry or from 
differences in social structure. To the merchant 
of Boston, the Yirginian planter was still almost a 
foreigner, though both the one and the other were 
pure-blooded Englishmen. Commercial jealousies 
were very keen. Disputes about boundaries were 
not uncommon. In 1756, Georgia and South Car- 
olina actually came to blows over the navigation of 
the Savannah river. Jeremiah Dummer, in his 
famous " Defence of the New Charters," said that 
it was impossible that the colonies should ever be 
"brought to unite ; and Burnaby thought that if the 
hand of Great Britain were once taken off, there 
rould be chronic civil war all the way from Maine 
to Georgia* 



THE BEGINNINGS. 7 

In 1754, the prospect of Immediate war will the 
French led several of the royal governors to call for 
a congress of all the colonies, to be held at Albany. 
The primary purpose of the meeting was T he Albany 
to make sure of the friendship of the Co ^ ress - 
Six Nations, and to organize a general scheme of 
operations against the French. The secondary 
purpose was to prepare some plan of confederation 
which all the colonies might be persuaded to adopt. 
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, 
Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Mary- 
land only seven colonies of the thirteen sent 
commissioners to this congress. The people showed 
little interest in the movement. It does not ap- 
pear that any public meetings were held in favour 
of it. Among the newspapers, the only one which 
warmly approved of it seems" to have been the 
"Pennsylvania Gazette," edited by Benjamin 
Franklin, which appeared with a union device 
and the motto " Unite or Die! " 

The circumstances of Franklin's life, no less than 
the vast sweep of his intelligence, had fitted him for 
sounder and wider views of the political needs of 
the time tlian were taken by most of his contempo- 
raries. In a certain sense he may be said to have 
belonged to two very different colonies ; nor was he 
unfamiliar with ideas current in the mother-coun- 
try. During the session of the Albany Congress, 
a first attempt was made to establish a permanent 
union of the thirteen colonies. It was 

--i IT i i Franklin's 

to Joranklm that the plan was chiefly plan of union, 

due. The legislative assembly of each 

colony was to choose, once in three years, rep- 



8 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

resentatives to attend a federal Grand Council; 
which was to meet every year at Philadelphia, a 
town which could be reached by a twenty days' 
journey either from South Carolina or from New 
Hampshire. This Grand Council was to choose 
its own speaker, and could neither be dissolved nor 
prorogued, nor kept sitting longer than six weeks 
at any one time, except by its own consent or by 
especial order of the Crown. The Grand Council 
was to make treaties with the Indians and to reg- 
ulate the Indian trade; and it was to have sole 
power of legislation on all matters concerning the 
colonies as a whole. To these ends, it could levy 
taxes, enlist soldiers, build forts, and nominate all 
civil officers. Its laws were to be submitted to the 
king for approval, and the royal veto, in order to 
be of effect, must be exercised within three years. 

To this Grand Council each colony was to send 
a number of representatives, proportioned to its 
contributions to the continental military service ; 
yet no colony was to send less than two or more 
than seven representatives. With the exception 
of such matters of general concern as were to be 
managed by the Grand Council, each colony was 
to retain its powers of legislation intact. On an 
emergency, any colony might singly defend itself 
against foreign attack, and the federal government 
was prohibited from impressing soldiers or seamen 
without the consent of the local legislature. 

The supreme executive power was to be vested 
in a president or governor-general, appointed and 
paid by the Crown. He was to nominate all mili- 
tary officers, subject to the approval of the Grand 



THE BEGINNINGS. 9 

Council, and was to have a veto on all the acts of 
the Grand Council. No money could be issued 
save by joint order of the governor-general and 
the council. 

This plan, said Franklin, " is not altogether to 
my mind, but it is as I could get it." It should 
be observed, to the credit of its great author, that 
this scheme, long afterward known as the " Albany- 
Plan," contemplated the formation of a self-sus- 
taining federal government, and not of a mere 
league. As Frothingham well says, " It designed 
to confer on the representatives of the people the 
power of making laws acting directly on individu- 
als, and appointing officers to execute them, and 
yet not to interfere with the execution of the laws 
operating on the same individuals by the local of- 
ficers." It would have erected u a public authority 
as obligatory in its sphere as the local governments 
were in their spheres." In this respect it was 
much more complete than the scheme of confeder- 
ation agreed on in Congress in 1777, and it af- 
forded a valuable precedent for the much more 
elaborate and perfect Federal Constitution of 1787. 
It was in its main features a noble scheme, and 
the great statesman who devised it was already 
looking forward to the immense growth of the 
American Union, though he had not yet foreseen 
the separation of the colonies from the mother- 
country. In less than a century, he said, the 
great country behind the Alleghanies must become 
" a populous and powerful dominion ; " and he 
recommended that two new colonies should at once 
be founded in the West, the one on Lake Erie, 



10 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

the other in the valley of the Ohio, with free 
chartered governments like those of Rhode Island 
and Connecticut. 

But public opinion was not yet ripe for the 
adoption of Franklin's bold and comprehensive 
ideas. Of the royal governors who wore anxious 
to see the colonies united on any terms, none op- 
posed the plan except Delancey of New York, 
who wished to reserve to the governors a veto 
upon all elections of representatives to th<3 Grand 
Rejection of Council. To this it was rightly objected 
the plan. | ia ^ suc fa a ve ^ p 0wer W ould virtually 

destroy the freedom of elections, and make the 
Grand Council an assembly of creatures of the 
governors. On the popular side the objections 
were many. The New England delegates, on 
the whole, were the least disinclined to union ; 
yet Connecticut urged that the veto power of 
the governor-general might prove ruinous to the 
whole scheme ; that the concentration of all the 
military forces in his hands would be fraught 
with dangers to liberty; and that even the power 
of taxation, lodged in the hands of an assembly 
so remote from local interests, was hardly compat- 
ible with the preservation of the ancient rights 
of Englishmen. After long debate, the assembly 
at Albany decided to adopt Franklin's plan, and 
copies of it were sent to all the colonies for their 
consideration. But nowhere did it meet with ap- 
proval. The mere fact that the royal governors 
were all in favour of it though their advocacy was 
at present, no doubt, determined mainly by military 
reasons was quite enough to create an iusupar- 



THE BEGINNINGS. 11 

able prejudice against it on the part of the people. 
The Massachusetts legislature seems to have been 
the only one which gave it a respectful considera- 
tion, albeit a large town meeting in Boston de- 
nounced it as subversive of liberty. Pennsylvania 
rejected it without a word of discussion. None 
of the assemblies favoured it. On the other hand, 
when sent over to England to be inspected by the 
Lords of Trade, it only irritated and disgusted 
them. As they truly said, it was a scheme of 
union " complete in itself ; " and ever since the 
days of the New England confederacy the Crown 
had looked with extreme jealousy upon all at- 
tempts at concerted action among the colonies 
which did not originate with itself. Besides this, 
the Lords of Trade were now considering a plan 
of their own for remodelling the governments of 
the colonies, establishing a standing army, enfor- 
cing the navigation acts, and levying taxes by au- 
thority of Parliament. Accordingly little heed 
was paid to Franklin's ideas. Though the royal 
governors had approved the Albany plan, in de- 
fault of any scheme of union more to their minds, 
they had no real sympathy with it. In 1756, Shir- 
ley wrote to the Lords of Trade, urging 

J ., *. SMrleyrecom- 

upon tnem the paramount necessity for mends a stamp 
a union of the American colonies, in 
order to withstand the French ; while at the same 
time he disparaged Franklin's scheme, as contain- 
ing principles of government unfit even 'for a sin- 
gle colony like Rhode Island, and much more unfit 
for a great American confederacy. The union, he 
urged, should be effected by act of Parliament, and 



12 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

by the same authority a general fund should be 

raised to meet the expenses of the war, an end 
which Shirley thought might be most speedily and 
quietly attained by means of a " stamp duty.' 3 As 
Shirley had been for fifteen years governor of Mas- 
sachusetts, and was now commander-in-chief of all 
the troops in America, his opinion had great weight 
with the Lords of Trade ; and the same views be- 
ing reiterated by Dinwiddie of Virginia, Sharpe 
ojc Maryland, Hardy of New York, and other gov- 
ernors, the notion that Parliament must tax the 
Americans became deeply rooted in the British 
official mind. 

Nothing was done, however, until the work of 
the French war had been accomplished. In 1761, 
It was decided to enforce the Navigation Act, and 
one of the revenue officers at Boston applied to 
the superior court for a "writ of assistance," or 
Writs of assist- general search-warrant, to enable him 
ance * to enter private houses and search for 

smuggled goods, but without specifying either 
houses or goods. Such general warrants had been 
allowed by a statute of the bad reign of Charles 
II., and a statute of William III., in general 
terms, had granted to revenue officers in America 
like powers to those they possessed in England* 
But James Otis showed that the issue of such 
writs was contrary to the whole spirit of the Brit- 
ish constitution. To issue such universal warrants 
allowing the menials of the custom-house, on mere 
suspicion, and perhaps from motives of personal 
enmity, to invade the home of any citizen, without 
being held responsible for any rudeness they 



THE BEGINNINGS. 13 

might commit there, such, he said, was " a kind 
of power, the exercise of which cost one king of 
England his head and another Ms throne ; " and 
he plainly declared that even an act of Parliament 
which should sanction so gross an infringement of 
the immemorial rights of Englishmen would be 
treated as null and void. Chief Justice Hutehin- 
son granted the writs of assistance, and as an in* 
terpreter of the law he was doubtless right in sa 
doing ; but Otis' s argument suggested the question. 
whether Americans were bound to obey laws which 
they had no share in making, and his passionate 
eloquence made so great an impression upon the 
people that this scene in the court-room has been 
since remembered and not unjustly as the 
opening scene of the American Revolution. 

In the same year the arbitrary temper of the 
government was exhibited in New York. Down 
to this time the chief -justice of the col- 

J . The cMef jus- 

ony had held office only during good tice of New 
behaviour, and had been, liable to dis- 
missal at the hands of the colonial assembly. The 
chief justice was now made removable only by the 
Crown, a measure which struck directly at the in- 
dependent administration of justice in the colony. 
The assembly tried to protect itself by refusing to 
assign a fixed salary to the chief justice, where- 
upon the king ordered that the salary should be 
paid out of the quit-rents for the public lands. At 
the same time instructions were sent to all the 
royal governors to grant no judicial commissions 
for any other period than " during the king's 
pleasure;" and to show that this was meant in 



14 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

earnest, the governor of New Jersey was next year 
peremptorily dismissed for commissioning a judge 
" during good behaviour." 

In 1762, a question distinctly involving the right 
of the people to control the expenditure of their 
own money came up in Massachusetts. Governor 
Bernard, without authority from the assembly, had 
sent a couple of ships to the northward, to protect 
the fisheries against French privateers, and an ex- 
pense of some ,400 had been thus incurred. The 
assembly was now ordered to pay this sum, but it 
otisv Vindi- Defused to do so. " It would be of little 
cation." consequence to the people," said Otis, 
in the debate on the question, " whether they were 
subject to George or Louis, the king of Great 
Britain or the French king, if both were arbitrary, 
as both would be, if both could levy taxes without 
Parliament." A cry of " Treason I " from one of 
the less clear-headed members greeted this bold 
statement ; and Otis, being afterward taken to task 
for his language, published a " Vindication," in 
which he maintained that the rights of a colonial 
assembly, as regarded the expenditure of public 
money, were as sacred as the rights of the House 
of Commons. 

In April, 1763, just three years after the ac- 
cession of George III., George Grenville became 
Prime Minister of England, while at the same time 
Charles Townshend was First Lord of Trade. 
Townshend had paid considerable attention to 
American affairs, and was supposed to know more 
about them than any other man in England. But 
bis studies had led him to the conclusion that the 



THE BEGINNINGS. 15 

colonies ought to be deprived of their self-govern- 
ment, and that a standing army ought to be main- 
tained in America by means of taxes arbitrarily 
assessed upon the people by Parliament. Gren* 
ville was far from approving of such extreme meas- 
ures as these, but he thought that a tax ought to be 
imposed upon the colonies, in order to 

i -T i < i <IT>! i Expenses of 

help defray the expenses ot the Jbrench the French 
war* Yet In point of fact, as Franklin 
truly said, the colonies had "raised, paid, and 
clothed nearly twenty-five thousand men during 
the last war, a number equal to those sent from 
Great Britain, and far beyond their proportion. 
They went deeply into debt in doing this ; and all 
their estates and taxes are mortgaged for many 
years to come for discharging that debt." That 
the colonies had contributed more than an equi- 
table share toward the expenses of the war, that 
their contributions had even been in excess of 
their ability, had been freely acknowledged by Par- 
liament, which, on several occasions between 1756 
and 1763, had voted large sums to be paid over to 
the colonies, in partial compensation for their ex- 
cessive outlay. Parliament was therefore clearly 
estopped from making the defrayal of the war 
debt the occasion for imposing upon the colonies a 
tax of a new and strange character, and under cir- 
cumstances which made the payment of such a tax 
seem equivalent to a surrender of their rights as 
free English communities. In March, Grenvffle 8 
1764, Grenville introduced in the House Besol?es - 
of Commons a series of Declaratory Resolves, an- 
nouncing the intention of the government to raise 



16 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

a revenue in America by requiring all legal docu- 
ments to bear stamps, varying' in price from three- 
pence to ten pounds. A year was to elapse, how- 
ever, before these resolutions should take effect in 
a formal enactment. 

It marks the inferiority of the mother-country to 
tiie colonies in political development, at that time, 
that the only solicitude as yet entertained by the 
British official mind, with regard to this measure, 
seems to have been concerned with the question 
how far the Americans would be willing to part 
with their money. With the Americans it was as 
far as possible from being a question of pounds, 
shillings, and pence ; but this was by no means cor- 
rectly understood in England. The good Shirley, 
although he had lived so long in Massachusetts, 
had thought that a revenue might be most easily 
and quietly raised by means of a stamp duty. Of 
all kinds of direct tax, none, perhaps, is less an- 
noying. But the position taken by the Americans 
had little to do with mere convenience ; it rested 
from the outset upon the deepest foundations of 
political justice, and from this foothold neither 
threatening nor coaxing could stir it. 

The first deliberate action with reference to the 
proposed Stamp Act was taken in the Boston, town 
meeting in "May, 1764. In this memorable town 
meeting Samuel Adams drew up a series of resolu- 
tions, which contained the first formal and public 
denial of the right of Parliament to tax tho colo- 
nies without their consent ; and while these resolu- 
tions were adopted by the Massachusetts assembly, 
a circular letter was at the same time sent to all 



THE BEGINNINGS. 17 

the other colonies, setting forth the need for con- 
certed and harmonious action in respect Replyof the 
of so grave a matter. In response, the colomes - 
assemblies of Connecticut, New York, Pennsylva- 
nia, Virginia, and South Carolina joined with 
Massachusetts in remonstrating against the pro- 
posed Stamp Act. All these memorials were re- 
markable for clearness of argument and simple 
dignity of language. They all took their stand on 
the principle that, as free-born Englishmen, they 
could not rightfully be taxed by the House of Com- 
mons unless they were represented in that body. 
But the proviso was added, that if a letter from 
the secretary of state, coming in the king's name, 
should be presented to the colonial assemblies, ask- 
ing them to contribute something from their gen- 
eral resources to the needs of the British Empire, 
they would cheerfully, as heretofore, grant liberal 
sums of money, in token of their loyalty and of 
their interest in all that concerned the welfare of 
the mighty empire to which they belonged. These 
able and temperate memorials were sent to Eng- 
land ; and in order to reinforce them by personal 
tact and address, Franklin went over to London as 
agent for the colony of Pennsylvania. 

The remonstrances of the colonies were of no 
avail. Early in 1765 the Stamp Act The stamp 
was passed. It is worthy of remark that, Act " 
now that the obnoxious law was fairly enacted, the 
idea that the Americans would resist its execution 
did not at once occur to Franklin. Acquiescence 
seemed to him, for the present, the only safe pol- 
icy. In writing to his friend Charles Thomson, 



18 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

lie said that he could no more have hindered the 
passing of the Stamp Act than he could have 
hindered the sun's setting. u That," he says, 
"we could not do. But since it is down, my 
friend, and it may be long before it rises again, 
let us make as good a night of it as we can. We 
may still light candles. Frugality and industry 
will go a great way towards indemnifying us." 
But Thomson, in his answer, with truer foresight, 
observed, "I much fear, instead of the candles 
you mentioned being lighted, you will hear of the 
works of darkness ! " The news of the passage 
of the Stamp Act was greeted in America with a 
burst of indignation. In New York, the act was 
reprinted with a death's-head upon it in place of 
the royal arms, and it was hawked about the 
streets under the title of " The Folly of England 
and the Ruin of America." In Boston, the church- 
bells were tolled, and the flags on the shipping put 
at half-mast. 

But formal defiance came first from Virginia. 

The Parsons' ^ ^ QSiT ai1 ^ a * ia ^ ^ Ore ? a f amOUS lllW- 

cause. su j^ known as the " Parsons' Cause," 

had brought into public notice a young man who 
was destined to take rank as one of the greatest 
of modern orators. The lawsuit which made Pat- 
rick Henry's reputation was one of the straws 
which showed how the stream of tendency in 
America was then strongly setting toward inde- 
pendence. Tobacco had not yet ceased to bo a 
legal currency in Virginia, and by virtue of an 
old statute each clergyman of the Established 
Church was entitled to sixteen thousand pounds 



THE BEGINNINGS. 19 

of tobacco as Ms yearly salary. In 1755 and 
1758, under the severe pressure of the French 
war, the assembly had passed relief acts, allowing 
all public dues, including the salaries of the clergy, 
to be paid either in kind or in money, at a fixed 
rate of twopence for a pound of tobacco. The 
policy of these acts was thoroughly unsound, as 
they involved a partial repudiation of debts ; but 
the extreme distress of the community was pleaded 
in excuse, and every one, clergy as well as laymen, 
at first acquiesced in them. But in 1759, tobacco 
was worth sixpence per pound, and the clergy 
became dissatisfied. Their complaints reached the 
ears of Sherlock, the Bishop of London, and the 
act of 1758 was summarily vetoed by the king in 
council. The clergy brought suits to recover the 
unpaid portions of their salaries ; in the test case 
of Eev. James Maury, the court decided the point 
of the law in their favour, on the ground of the 
royal veto, and nothing remained but to settle be- 
fore a jury the amount of the damages. On this 
occasion, Henry appeared for the first time in 
court, and after a few timid and awkward sen- 
tences burst forth with an eloquent speech, in 
which he asserted the indefeasible right of Vir- 
ginia to make laws for herself, and declared that 
in annulling a salutary ordinance at the request 
of a favoured class in the community "a king? 
from being the father of his people, degenerates 
into a tyrant, and forfeits all right to obedience." 
Cries of " Treason ! " were heard in the court* 
room, but the jury immediately returned a verdict 
of one penny in damages, and Henry became the 



20 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

popular idol of Virginia. The clergy tried in vain 
to have Mm indicted for treason, alleging that his 
crime was hardly less heinous than that winch had 
brought old Lord Lovat to the block. But the 
people of Louisa county replied, in 1765, by 
choosing him to represent thorn in the colonial as- 
sembly. 

Hardly had Henry taken his seat in the as- 
sembly when the news of the Stamp Act 
^ S n res2u" arrived. In a committee of the whole 
tlons " house, he drew up a series of resolu- 

tions, declaring that the colonists were entitled to 
all the liberties and privileges of natural-bora sub- 
jects, and that u the taxation of the people by 
themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to 
represent them, ... is the distinguishing charac- 
teristic *of British freedom, without which the 
ancient constitution cannot exist." It was further 
declared that any attempt to vest the power o 
taxation in any other body than the colonial as- 
sembly was a menace to British no loss than to 
American freedom ; that the people of Virginia 
were not bound to obey any law enacted in dis- 
regard of these fundamental principles ; and that 
any one who should maintain the contrary should 
be regarded as a public enemy. It was in the 
lively debate which ensued upon these resolu- 
tions, that Henry uttered those memorable words 
commending the example o Tarquin and Caesar 
and Charles I. to the attention of George III. 
Before the vote had been taken upon all the 
resolutions, Governor Fauquier dissolved the as- 
sembly; but the resolutions were printed in the 



THE BEGINNINGS. 21 

newspapers, and hailed with approval all over the 
country. 

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts legislature, at 
the suggestion of Otis, had issued a circular letter 
to all the colonies, calling for a general congress 9 
in order to concert measures of resist- Tlie stamp 
ance to the Stamp Act. The first cor- Act congress. 
dial response came from South Carolina, at the 
instance of Christopher Gadsden, a wealthy mer- 
chant of Charleston and a scholar learned in 
Oriental languages, a man of rare sagacity and 
most liberal spirit. On the 7th of October, the 
proposed congress assembled at New York, com- 
prising delegates from Massachusetts, South Caro- 
lina, Pennsylvania, Khocle Island, Connecticut, 
Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, 
in all nine colonies, which are here mentioned in 
the order of the dates at which, they chose their 
delegates. In Virginia, the governor succeeded 
in preventing the meeting of the legislature, so 
that this great colony did not send delegates ; and 
for various reasons, New Hampshire, North Caro- 
lina, and Georgia were likewise unrepresented at 
the congress. But the sentiment of all the thirteen 
colonies was none the less unanimous, and those 
which did not attend lost no time in declaring 
their full concurrence with what was done at New 
York. At this memorable meeting, held under 
the very guns of the British fleet and hard by the 
headquarters of General Gage, the commander- 
in-chief of the regular forces in America, a series 
of resolutions were adopted, echoing the spirit of 
Patrick Henry's resolves* though couched in 



22 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

guage somewhat more conciliatory, and memorials 
were addressed to the king and to both Houses of 
Parliament. Of all the delegates present, Gadsden 
took the broadest ground, in behalf both of liberty 
and of united action among the colonies. He ob- 
jected to sending petitions to Parliament, lest 
thereby its paramount authority should implicitly 
and unwittingly be acknowledged. U A confirma- 
tion of our essential and common rights as Eng- 
lishmen," said he, " may be pleaded from charters 
safely enough; but any further dependence on them 
may be fatal. We should stand upon the broad 
common ground of those natural rights that we 
all feel and* know as men and as descendants of 
Englishmen. I wish the charters may not ensnare 
us at last, by drawing different colonies to act 
differently in this great cause. Whenever that is 
the case, all will be over with the whole- There 
ought to be no New England man, no New Yorker, 
known on the continent ; but all of us Americans." 
So thought and said this broad-minded South 
Carolinian. 

While these things were going on at New York, 
Declaration of ^ ne Massachusetts assembly, under the 
SttoSS?* lead of Samuel Adams, who had just 
bly< taken his seat in it, drew up a very able 

state paper, in which it was declared, among othei 
things, that " the Stamp Act wholly cancels the 
very conditions upon which our ancestors, with 
much toil and blood and at their sole expense, set-* 
tied this country and enlarged his majesty's domin- 
ions. It tends to destroy that mutual confidence 
and affection, as well as that equality, which ought 



TEE BEGINNINGS. 23 

ever to subsist among all Ms majesty's subjects In 
this wide and extended empire ; and what is the 
worst of all evils, if his majesty's American subjects 
are not to be governed according to the known and 
stated rules of the constitution, their minds may 
In time become disaffected." This moderate and 
dignified statement was derided in England as the 
" raving of a parcel of wild enthusiasts," but from 
the position here taken Massachusetts never after- 
ward receded. 

But it was not only in these formal and decorous 
proceedings that the spirit of resistance was exhib- 
ited. The first announcement of the Resistance to 
Stamp Act had called into existence a AC^BOS- 
group of secret societies of workingmen tonj 
known as " Sons of Liberty," in allusion to a fa- 
mous phrase in one of Colonel Barrels speeches. 
These societies were solemnly pledged to resist the 
execution of the obnoxious law. On the 14th of 
August, the quiet town of Boston witnessed some 
extraordinary proceedings. At daybreak, the ef- 
figy of the stamp officer, Oliver, was seen hanging 
from a great elm-tree, while near it was suspended 
a boot, to represent the late prime minister, Lord 
Bute ; and from the top of the boot-leg there is- 
sued a grotesque head, garnished with horns, to 
represent the devl At nightfall the Sons of Lib- 
erty cut down these figures, and bore them on a 
bier through the streets until they reached King 
Street, where they demolished the frame of a house 
which was supposed to be erecting for a stamp of- 
fice. Thence, carrying the beams of this frame to 
Fort Hill, where Oliver lived, they made a bonfire 



24 THE AMERICA?? BEVOLUTIOW. 

of them In front of Ms house, and in the bonfire 
they burned up the effigies. Twelve days after, a 
mob sacked the splendid house of Chief Justice 
Hutchinson, threw Ms plate Into the street, and 
destroyed the valuable library which he had been 
thirty years in collecting, and which contained 
many manuscripts, the loss of which was quite ir- 
reparable. As usual with mobs, the vengeance fell 
In the wrong place, for Hutehinson had done his 
best to prevent the passage of the Stamp Act. In 
most of the colonies, the stamp officers were com- 
pelled to resign their posts. Boxes of stamps ar- 
riving by ship were burned or thrown Into the sea. 
Leading merchants agreed to import no more goods 
from England, and wealthy citizens set the example 
of dressing in homespun garments. Lawyers agreed 
to overlook the absence of the stamp on legal doc- 
uments, while editors derisively issued their news- 
papers with a death's-head In the place where the 
stamp was required to be put. In New York, the 
and in New presence of the troops for a moment en- 
York. couraged the lieutenant-governor, Col- 

den, to take a bold stand In behalf of the law. He 
talked of firing upon the people, but was warned 
that if he did so he would be speedily hanged on 
a lamp-post, like Captain Porteous of Edinburgh. 
A torchlight procession, carrying images of Golden 
and of the devil, broke into the governor's coach- 
house, and, seizing his best chariot, paraded it 
about town with the images upon it, and finally 
burned up chariot and images on the Bowling 
Green, in full sight of Golden and the garrison, 
who looked on from the Battery, speechless with 



THE BEGINNINGS. 25 

rage, but afraid to interfere. Gage did not dare 
"so liave the troops used, for fear of bringing on a 
3ivil war ; and the next day the discomfited Golden 
was obliged to surrender all the stamps to the com- 
mon council of New York, by whom they 'were at 
once locked up in the City Hall. 

Nothing more was needed to prove the impossl 
bility of carrying the Stamp Act into effect. An 
act which could be thus rudely defied under the very 
eyes of the commander-in-chief plainly could never 
be enforced without a war. But nobody wanted a 
war, and the matter began to be reconsidered in 
England. In July, the Grenville ministry had 
gone out of office, and the Marquis of Buckingham 
was now prime minister, while Conway, who had 
been one of the most energetic opponents of the 
Stamp Act, was secretary of state for the colonies. 
The new ministry would perhaps have been glad to 
let the question of taxing America remain in abey- 
ance, but that was no longer possible. The debate 
on the proposed repeal of the Stamp 

A /. 1 o IT Debate in the 

Act was one ot the fiercest that has ever House of com- 
been heard in the House of Commons. 
Grenville and his friends, now in opposition, main- 
tained in all sincerity that no demand could ever 
be more just, or more honourably intended, than 
that which had lately been made upon the Ameri- 
cans. Of the honest conviction of Grenville and 
his supporters that they were entirely in the right, 
and that the Americans were governed by purely 
sordid and vulgar motives in resisting the Stamp 
Act, there cannot be the slightest doubt. To re- 
fute this gross misconception of the American po* 



26 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

sition, Pitt hastened from a sick-bed to the House 
of Commons, and delivered tliose speeches, in 
which he avowed that he rejoiced in the resistance 
of the Americans, and declared that, had they 
submitted tamely to the measures of Grenville, 
they would have shown themselves only fit to be 
slaves. He pointed out distinctly that the Ameri- 
cans were upholding those eternal principles of 
political justice which should be to all Englishmen 
most dear, and that a victory over the colonies 
would be of ill-omen for English liberty, whether 
in the Old World or in the New. Beware, he 
said, how you persist in this ill-considered policy. 
" In such a cause your success would be hazard- 
ous. America, if she fell, would fall like the 
strong man with his arms around the pillars of the 
Constitution." There could be no sounder politi- 
cal philosophy than was contained in these burn- 
ing sentences of Pitt. From, all the history of the 
European world since the later days of the Eoman 
Republic, there is no more important lesson to be 
learned than this, that it is impossible for a free 
people to govern a dependent people despotically 
without endangering its own freedom. Pitt there- 
fore urged that the Stamp Act should instantly 
be repealed, and that the reason for the repeal 
should be explicitly stated to be because the act 
** was founded on an erroneous principle." At the 
same time he recommended the passage of a De- 
claratory Act, in which the sovereign authority of 
Parliament over the colonies should be strongly 
asserted with respect to everything except direct 
taxation. Similar views were sei; forth in the 



THE BEGINNINGS. 27 

House of Lords, with great learning and ability, 
by Lord Camden ; but he was vehemently opposed 
by Lord Mansfield, and when the question came 
to a decision the only peers who supported Cam- 
den were Lords Shelburne, Cornwallis, Paulet, and 
Torrington. The result finally reached was the 
unconditional repeal of the Stamp Act, Repeal of the 
and the simultaneous passage of a De- stamp Act 
claratory Act, in which the views of Pitt and Cam- 
den were ignored, and Parliament asserted Its 
right to make laws binding on the colonies "in all 
cases whatsoever." By the people of London the 
repeal was received with enthusiastic delight, and 
Pitt and Conway, as they appeared on the street, 
were loudly cheered, while Grenville was greeted 
with a storm of hisses. In America the effect of 
the news was electric. There were bonfires in 
every town, while addresses of thanks to the king 
were voted in all the legislatures. Little heed was 
paid to the Declaratory Act, which was regarded 
merely as an artifice for saving the pride of the 
British government. There was a unanimous out- 
burst of loyalty all over the country, and never 
did the people seem less in a mood for rebellion 
than now. 

The quarrel had now been made up. On the 
question of principle, the British had the last 
word. The government had got out of its di- 
lemma remarkably well, and the plain and obvious 
course for British statesmanship was not to allow 
another such direct issue to come up between the 
colonies and the mother-country. To force on 
another such issue while the memory of this on 



28 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

was fresli In everybody's mind was sheer madness. 
To raise tlie question wantonly, as Charles Towns- 
hend did in the course of the very next year, 
was one of those blunders that are worse than 
crimes. 

In July, 1766, less than six months after the 
repeal of the Stamp Act, the llockingham min- 
istry fell, and the formation of a new ministry 
was entrusted to Pitt, the man who best appre- 
ciated the value of the American colonies. But 
the state of Pitt's health was not such as to war- 
rant his taking upon himself the ar- 

TheDukeof . * . . . 

Grafton's duous duties of prime minister. He 
became Lord Privy Seal, and, accepting 
the earldom of Chatham, passed into the House of 
Lords. The Duke of Grafton became prime 
minister, under Pitt's guidance ; Conway and 
Lord Shelburne' were secretaries of state, and 
Camden became Lord Chancellor, all three of 
them warm friends of America, and adopting 
the extreme American view of the constitutional 
questions lately at issue ; and along with these was 
Charles Townshend, the evil spirit of the admin- 
istration, as chancellor of the exchequer. From 
such a ministry, it might at first sight seem 
strange that a fresh quarrel with America should 
have proceeded. But Chatham's illness soon over- 
powered him, so that he was kept at home suf- 
fering excruciating pain, and could neither guide 
nor even pay due attention to the proceedings 
of his colleagues. Of the rest of the ministry, 
only Conway and Townshend were in the House 
f Commons, where the real direction of -affairs 



THE BEGINNINGS. 29 

rested ; and when Lord Chatham was out of the 
way, as the Duke of Grafton counted for nothing, 
the strongest man in the cabinet was unquestion- 
ably Towiishend. Now when an act for raising 
an American revenue was proposed by Townshend, 
a prejudice against it was sure to be excited at 
once, simply because every American knew well 
what Townshend's views were. It would have 
been difficult for such a man even to assume a 
conciliatory attitude without having his motives 
suspected ; and if the question with Great Britain 
had been simply that of raising a revenue on 
statesmanlike principles, it would have been well 
to entrust the business to some one like Lord 
Shelburne, in whom the Americans had confi- 
dence. In 1767, Townshend ventured to do what 
in any English ministry of the present day would 
be impossible. In flat opposition to the policy 
of Chatham and the rest of his colleagues, trust- 
ing in the favour of the king and in his own abil- 
ity to coax or browbeat the House of Commons, 
he brought in a series of new measures for tax- 
ing America. " I expect to be dismissed for my 
pains," he said in the House, with flippant de- 
fiance ; and indeed he came verj" near it. As 
soon as he heard what was going on, Chatham, 
mustered up strength enough to go to London and 
insist upon Townshend's dismissal. But Lord 
North was the only person that could be thought 
of to take Townshend's place, and Lord North, 
who never could bear to offend the king, declined 
the appointment. Before Chatham could devise 
a way out of his quandary, his malady again laid 



80 THE AMERICAN EEVOLUTION. 

him prostrate, and Townshend was not only not 
turned out, but was left practically supreme in the 
cabinet. The new measures for taxing America 
were soon passed. In the debates 011 the Stamp 
Act, it had been argued that while Parliament had 
no right to impose a direct tax upon the Amer- 
icans, it might still properly regulate American 
trade by port duties. The distinction had been 
insisted upon by Pitt, and had been virtually ac- 
knowledged by the Americans, who had from 
time to time submitted to acts of Parliament im- 
posing duties upon merchandise imported into the 
colonies. Kay, more, when charged with inconsis- 
tency for submitting to such acts while resisting 
the Stamp Act, several leading Americans had 
The Towns, explicitly adopted the distinction be- 
iiendActs. tween internal and external taxation, 
and declared themselves ready to submit to the lat- 
ter while determined to resist the former. Towns- 
tend was now ready, as he declared, to take them 
at their word. By way of doing so, he began by 
laughing to scorn the distinction between internal 
and external taxation, and declaring that Par- 
liament possessed the undoubted right of taxing 
the Americans without their own consent; but 
since objections had been raised to a direct tax, 
he was willing to resort to port duties, a meas- 
ure to which the Americans were logically bound 
to assent. Duties were accordingly imposed on 
wine, oil, and fruits, if carried directly to America 
from Spain or Portugal ; on glass, paper, lead, 
and painters' colours ; and lastly on tea. The rev- 
enue to be derived from these duties was to ,be 



THE BEGINNINGS. 31 

devoted to paying a fixed salary to the royal gov- 
ernors and to the justices appointed at the king's 
pleasure. The Crown was also empowered to 
create a general civil list in every colony, and to 
grant salaries and pensions at its arbitrary will, 
A board of revenue commissioners for the whole 
country was to "be established at Boston, armed 
with extraordinary powers ; and general writs of 
assistance were expressly legalized and permitted. 
Such was the way in which Townshend pro- 
ceeded to take the Americans at their word. His 
course was a distinct warning to the Americans 
that, if they yielded now, they might expect 
some new Stamp Act or other measures of direct 
taxation to follow; and so it simply invited re* 
sistance. That no doubt might be left on this 
point, the purpose for which the revenue was to 
be used showed clearly that the object of this 
legislation was not to regulate trade, but to as- 
sert British supremacy over the colonies at the 
expense of their political freedom. By provid- 
ing for a civil list in each colony, to be respon- 
sible only to the Crown, it aimed at American 
self-government even a more deadly blow than 
had been aimed at it by the Stamp Act. It med- 
dled with the " internal police " of every colony, 
and would thus have introduced a most 
vexatious form of tyranny as soon as wSfroS 
it had taken effect. A special act by sembly ' 
which the Townshend revenue acts were accom- 
panied still further revealed the temper and pur- 
poses of the British government. The colony ot' 
New York had been required to provide certain 



32 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

supplies for the regular troops quartered in the 
city, under command of General Gage ; and the 
colonial assembly Lad insisted upon providing 
these supplies in its own way, and in disregard 
of special instructions from England. For this 
offence, Parliament now passed an act suspending 
the New York assembly from its legislative func- 
tions until it should have complied with the in- 
structions regarding the supplies to the army. It 
need not be said that the precedent involved in 
this act, if once admitted, would have virtually 
annulled the legislative independence of every one 
of the colonial assemblies. 

We may perhaps wonder that an English Par- 
liament should hare been prevailed on to pass such 
audacious acts as these, and by large majorities. 
but we must remember that in those days the Eng- 
lish system of representation was so imperfect, and 
had come to be so overgrown with abuses, 

Parliament , 

did not prop- that an act of Parliament was by no 

erly represent 

the British means sure to represent the average 
judgment of the English people. The 
House of Commons was so far under the corrupt 
influence of the aristocracy, and was so inade- 
quately controlled by popular opinion, that at al- 
most any time it was possible for. an eloquent, 
determined, and unscrupulous minister to carry 
measures through it such as could never have been 
carried through any of the reformed Parliaments 
since 1832. It is not easy, perhaps, to say with 
confidence what the popular feeling in England 
was in 1767 with reference to the policy of Charles 
Townshend. The rural population was much more 



BEGINNINGS. 3g 

ignorant than it is to-day, and its political opinions 

were strongly influenced by the country squires, 

a worthy set o men, but not generally distinguished 
for the flexibility of their minds or the breadth of 
their -views. But as a sample of the most intelli- 
gent popular feeling in England afc that time, it 
will probably not be unfair to cite that of the 
city of London, which was usually found arrayed 
on the side of free government. No wiser advice 
was heard in Parliament, on the subject of tlie New 
York dispute, than was given by alderman Beck- 
ford, father of the illustrious author o Vathek, 
when he said, " Do like the best of physicians, and 
heal the disease by doing nothing." On many 
other important occasions in the course of this un- 
fortunate quarrel, the city of London gave expres- 
sion to opinions which the king and Parliament 
would have done well to heed. But even if the 
House of Commons had reflected popular feeling 
in 1767 as clearly as it has done since 1832, it is 
by no means sure that it would have known how 
to deal successfully with the American question. 
The problem was really a new one in political his- 
tory; and there was no adequate precedent to 
guide the statesmen in dealing with the peculiar 
combination of considerations it involved. As far 
as concerned the relations of Englishmen in Eng- 
land to the Crown and to Parliament, the British 
Constitution had at last reached a point where it; 
worked quite smoothly. All contingencies likely 
to arise seemed to have been provided for. But 
when it came to the relations of Englishmen in. 
America to the Crown and to Parliament, the case 



84 THE AMEEIGAN REVOLUTION. 

was very different. The case had its peculiar con- 
ditions, which the British Constitution in skilful 
hands would no doubt have proved elastic enough 
to satisfy ; but just at this time the British Consti- 
tution happened to be in very unskilful hands, and 
wholly failed to meet the exigencies of the occa- 
Difflcuityof sion - Tlie cnief difficulty lay in the 

the problem. act ^^ ^Jfe Qn ^ one k an< J ^ 

American principle of no taxation without repre- 
sentation was unquestionably sound and just, on 
the other hand the exemption of any part of the 
British Empire from the jurisdiction of Parliament 
seemed equivalent to destroying the political unity 
of the empire. This could not but seem to any 
English statesman a most lamentable result, and 
no English statesman felt this more strongly than 
Lord Chatham. 

There were only two possible ways in which the 
difference could be accommodated. Either the 
American colonies must elect representatives to the 
Parliament at Westminster; or else the right of 
levying taxes must be left where it already resided, 
in their own legislative bodies. The first alter- 
native was seriously considered by eminent politi- 
cal thinkers, both in England and America. In 
England it was favourably regarded by Adam 
Smith, and in America by Benjamin Franklin and 
James Otis. In 1774, some of the loyalists in the 
first Continental Congress recommended such a 
scheme. In 1773, after the overthrow of Bur- 
goyne, the king himself began to think favourably 
of such a way out of the quarrel. But this alter- 
native was doubtless from the first quite visionary 



THE BEGINNINGS. 35 

and unpractical. The difficulties in the way of 
securing anything like equality of representation 
would probably have been insuperable ; Eepresenta _ 
and the difficulty in dividing jurisdiction ^9* ^ ri 
fairly between the local colonial legisla- ment - 
ture and the American contingent in the Parliament 
at Westminster would far have exceeded any of 
the difficulties that have arisen in the attempt to 
adjust the relations of the several States to the 
general government in our Federal Union. Mere 
distance, too, which even to-day would go far to- 
ward rendering such a scheme impracticable, 
would have been a still more fatal obstacle in the 
days of Chatham and Townshend. If, even with 
the vast enlargement of the political horizon which 
our hundred years' experience of federalism has ef- 
fected, the difficulty of such a union still seems so 
great, we may be sure it would have proved quite 
insuperable then. The only practicable solution 
would have been the frank and cordial admission, 
by the British government, of the essential sound- 
ness of the American position, that, in accordance 
with the entire spirit of the English Constitution, 
the right of levying taxes in America resided only 
in the colonial legislatures, in which alone could 
American freemen be adequately represented. 
Nor was there really any reason to fear that such 
a step would imperil the unity of the empire. How 
mistaken this fear was, on the part of English 
statesmen, is best shown by the fact that, in her 
liberal and enlightened dealings with her colo- 
nies at the present day, England has consistently 
adopted the very course of action which alone 



36 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

would have conciliated such men as Samuel Adams 
in the days of the Stamp Act. By pursuing such 
a policy, the British government has to-day a gen- 
uine hold upon the affections of its pioneers in 
Australia and New Zealand and Africa. If such 
a statesman as Gladstone could have dealt freely 
with the American question during the twelve 
years following the Peace of Paris, the history of 
that time need not have been the pitiable story of 
a blind and obstinate effort to enforce submission 
to an ill-considered and arbitrary policy on the 
part of the king and Ms ministers. The feeling by 
which the king's party was guided, in the treat- 
ment of the American question, was very much the 
same as the feeling which lately inspired the Tory 
criticisms upon Gladstone's policy in South Africa. 
Lord Beaconsfield, a man in some respects not un- 
like Charles Townshend, bequeathed to his succes- 
sor a miserable quarrel with the Dutch farmers 
Mr, Gladstone f tne Transvaal ; and Mr. Gladstone, 
and the Boers, a f- er examining the case on its merits, 
had the moral courage to f acknowledge that Eng- 
land was wrong, and to concede the demands of 
the Boers, even after serious military defeat at 
their hands. Perhaps no other public act of Eng- 
land in the nineteenth century has done her greater 
honour than this. But 'said the Jingoes, All the 
world will now laugh at Englishmen, and call them 
cowards. In order to vindicate the military pres- 
tige of England, the true policy would be, for- 
sooth, to prolong the war until the Boers had been 
once thoroughly defeated, and then acknowledge 
the soundness of their position. Just as if the 



THJE BEGINNINGS. 37 

whole world did not know, as well as it can pos- 
sibly know anything, that whatevrr qualities the 
English nation may lack, it certainly does not 
lack courage, or the ability to win victories in a 
good cause ! All honour to the Christian statesman 
who dares to leave England's military prestige to 
be vindicated by the glorious records of a thousand 
years, and even in the hour of well-merited defeat 
sets a higher value on political justice than on a 
reputation for dealing hard blows ! Such inci- 
dents as this are big with hope for the future, 
They show us what sort of political morality our 
children's children may expect to see, when man- 
kind shall have come somewhat nearer toward be- 
ing truly civilized. 

In the eighteenth century, no such exhibition of 
good sense and good feeling, in the interest of po- 
litical justice, could have been expected from any 
European statesman, unless from a Turgot or a 
Chatham. But Charles Townshend was not even 
called upon to exercise any such self -control. Had 
he simply taken Alderman Beckford's advice, and 
done nothing, all would have been well ; but his 
meddling had now put the government into a posi- 
tion which it was ruinous to maintain, but from 
which it was difficult to retreat. American tradi- 
tion rightly lays the chief blame for the troubles 
which brought on the Eevolutionary War to 
George III. ; but, in fairness, it is well to remem- 
ber that he did not suggest Townshend's measures, 
though he zealously adopted and cherished them 
when once propounded. The blame for wantonly 
throwing the apple of discord belongs to Towns* 



38 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Lend more than to any one else. After doing this, 
within three months from the time his bill had 
Death of passed the House of Commons, Towns- 
Townahend. k eil( j was seized with a fever and died 
at the age of forty-one. A man of extraordinary 
gifts, but without a trace of earnest moral convic- 
tion, he had entered upon a splendid career ; but his 
insincere nature, which turned everything into jest, 
had stamped itself upon his work. He bequeathed 
to his country nothing but the quarrel which was 
soon to deprive her of the grandest part of that 
empire upon which the sun shall never set. 

If Townshend's immediate object in originating 
these measures was to curry favour with George III., 
and get the lion's share in the disposal of the 
king's ample corruption-fund, he had doubtless 
gone to work in the right way. The king was de- 
lighted with Townshend's measures, and after the 
. ,.,. , sudden death of his minister he made 

His political 

legacy to them his own, and staked his whole po- 

George III. , . . , . 

litical career as a monarch upon their 
success. These measures were the fatal legacy 
which the brighter political charlatan left to the 
duller political fanatic. The fierce persistency 
with which George now sought to force Towns- 
hend's measures upon the Americans partook of the 
nature of fanaticism, and we shall not understand 
it unless we bear in mind the state of political par- 
ties in England between 1760 and 1784. When 
George III. came to the throne, in 1760, England 
tad been governed for more than half a century by 
the great Whig families which had been brought 
into the foreground by the revolution of 1688. 



THE BEGINNINGS. 39 

The Tories had been utterly discredited and cast 
out of political life by reason of their willingness to 
conspire with the Stuart pretenders in disturbing 
the peace of the country. Cabinet government, in 
its modern form, had begun to grow up during the 
long and prosperous administration of Sir Eobert 
"Walpole, who was the first English prime minister 
In the full sense. Under Walpole's wise and 
powerful sway, the first two Georges had possessed 
scarcely more than the shadow of sovereignty. It 
was the third George's ambition to become a real 
king, like the king of France or the king of Spain. 
From earliest babyhood, his mother had forever been 
impressing upon him the precept, " George, be 
king!" and this simple lesson had constituted 
pretty. much the whole of his education. Popular 
tradition regards him as the most ignorant king that 
ever sat upon the English throne ; and so far as 
general culture is concerned, this opinion is un- 
doubtedly correct. He used to wonder what people 
could find to admire in such a wretched driveller as 
Shakespeare, and he never was capable of under- 
standing any problem which required the slightest 
trace of imagination or of generalizing power. 
Nevertheless, the popular American tra- character of 
dition undoubtedly errs in exaggerating George m * 
his stupidity and laying too little stress upon the 
worst side of his character. George III. was not 
destitute of a certain kind of ability, which often 
gets highly rated in this not too clear-sighted world. 
He could see an immediate end very distinctly, and 
acquired considerable power from the dogged in- 
dustry with which he pursued it. In an age where 



40 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

some of the noblest English statesmen drank their 
gallon of strong wine daily, or sat late at the gam- 
bling-table, or lived in scarcely hidden concubinage, 
George III. was decorous in personal habits and 
pure in domestic relations, and no banker's clerk 
in London applied himself to the details of business 
more industriously than he. He had a genuine 
talent for administration, and he devoted this talent 
most assiduously to selfish ends. Scantily en- 
dowed with human sympathy, and almost boorishly 
stiff in his ordinary unstudied manner, he could be 
smooth as oil whenever he liked. He was an adept 
in gaining men's confidence by a show of interest, 
and securing their aid by dint of fair promises ; and 
when he found them of no further use, he coulcl 
turn them adrift with wanton insult. Any one who 
dared to disagree with him upon even the slightest 
point of policy he straightway regarded as a nat- 
ural enemy, and pursued him ever afterward with 
vindictive hatred. As a natural consequence, he 
surrounded himself with weak and short-sighted 
advisers, and toward all statesmen of broad views 
and independent character he nursed the bitterest 
rancour. He had little faith in human honour or 
rectitude, and in pursuing an end he was seldom 
deterred by scruples. 

Such was the man who, on coming to the throne 
in 1760, had it for his first and chief est thought to 
break down the growing system of cabinet gov- 
ernment in England. For the moment circum- 
stances seemed to favour him. The ascendancy of 
the great Whig families was endangered on two 
sides. On the one hand, the Tory party had out- 



THE BEGINNINGS. 41 

lived that idle, romantic love for the Stuarts upon 
which it found it impossible to thrive. The Tories 
began coming to court again, and they gave the 
new king all the benefit of their superstitious 
theories of high prerogative and divine 
right. On the other hand, a strong ^^J^ 
popular feeling was beginning to grow 
up against parliamentary government as conducted 
by the old Whig families. The House of Com- 
mons no longer fairly represented the people. An- 
cient boroughs, which possessed but a handful of 
population, or, lil^e Old Sarum, had no inhabitants 
at all, still sent their representatives to Parliament, 
while great cities of recent growth, such as Bir- 
mingham and Leeds, were unrepresented. To a 
great extent, it was the most progressive parts of 
the kingdom which were thus excluded from a 
share in the government, while the rotten boroughs 
were disposed of by secret lobbying, or even by 
open bargain and sale. A few Whig families, the 
heads of which sat in the House of Lords, thus vir- 
tually owned a considerable part of the House of 
Commons ; and, under such circumstances, it was 
not at all .strange that Parliament should some- 
times, as in the Wilkes case, array itself in flat 
opposition to the will of the people. The only 
wonder is that there were not more such scandals. 
The party of "Old Whigs," numbering in its 
ranks .some of the ablest and most patriotic men in 
England, was contented with this state of things, 
upon which it had thrived for two generations, and 
could not be made to understand the iniquity of it, 
~ any more than an old cut-and-dried American 



42 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

politician in our time can be made to understand 
the iniquity of the " spoils system." Of this party 
the Marquis of Kockingham was the political 
leader, and Edmund Burke was the great represen- 
tative statesman. In strong opposition to the Old 
Whig policy there had grown up the party of New 
Whigs, bent upon bringing about some measure of 
parliamentary reform, whereby the House of Com- 
mons might truly represent the people of Great 
Britain. In Parliament this party was small in 
numbers, but weighty in character, and at its head 
was the greatest Englishman of the eighteenth 
century, the elder William Pitt, under whose guid- 
ance England had won her Indian empire and 
established her dominion over the seas, whpe she 
tad dri\ r en the French from America, and enabled 
Frederick the Great to lay the foundations of mod- 
ern Germany. 

Now when George III. came to the throne, he 
George in. as took advantage of this division in the 
a politician. ^ wo parties in order to break down the 
power of the Old Whig families, which so long 
had ruled the country. To this end he used the 
revived Tory party with great effect, and bid 
against the Old Whigs for the rotten boroughs ; 
and in playing off one set of prejudices and inter- 
ests against another, he displayed in the highest 
degree the cunning and craft of a self-seeking pol- 
itician. His ordinary methods would have aroused 
the envy of Tammany. While engaged in such 
work, he had sense enough to see that the party 
from which he had most to fear was that of tho 
Jfew Whigs, whose scheme of parliamentary ref orn^ 



THE BEGINNINGS. 43 

i ever successful, would deprive him of the ma- 
chinery of corruption upon which he relied. Much 
as he hated the Old Whig families, he hated Pitt 
and his followers still more heartily. He was per- 
petually denouncing Pitt as a " trumpeter of sedi- 
tion," and often vehemently declared in public 5 
and in the most offensive manner, that he wished 
that great man were dead. Such had been his 
eagerness to cast discredit upon Pitt's policy that 
he had utterly lost sight of the imperial interests 
of England, which indeed his narrow intelligence 
was incapable of comprehending. One of the first 
acts of his reign Lad been to throw away Cuba 
and the Philippine Islands, which Pitt had just 
conquered from Spain ; while at the same time, 
by leaving Prussia in the lurch before the Seven 
Years' War had fairly closed, he converted the 
great Frederick from one of England's warmest 
friends into one of her bitterest enemies. 

This political attitude of George III. toward the 
Whigs in general, and toward Pitt in . 

. . . His chief rea- 

particular, explains the fierce obsti- son for qua*. 

* m 7 , r , reling with 

nacy with which he took up and carried the Amen- 

v x etuis. 

on Townshend's quarrel with the Amer- 
ican colonies. For if the American position, that 
there should be no taxation without representation, 
were once to be granted, then it would straightway 
become necessary to admit the principles of parlia- 
mentary reform. The same principle that applied 
to such commonwealths as Massachusetts and Vir- 
ginia would be forthwith applied to such towns as 
Birmingham and Leeds. The system of rotten 
boroughs would be swept away ; the chief engine 



41 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

of kingly corruption would thus be destroyed ; a 
reformed House of Commons, with the people at 
its back, would curb forever the pretensions of the 
Crown; and the detested Lord Chatham would 
become the real ruler of a renovated England, in 
which George III. would be a personage of very 
little political importance. 

In these considerations we find the explanation 
!>f the acts of George III. which brought on the 
American Revolution, and we see why it is histor- 
ically correct to regard him as the person chiefly 
responsible for the quarrel. The obstinacy with 
which he refused to listen to a word of reason 
from America was largely due to the exigencies of 
the political situation in which he found himself. 
For Mm, as well as for the colonies, it was a des- 
perate struggle for political existence. He was 
glad to force on the issue in America rather than 
in England, because it would be comparatively 
easy to enlist British local feeling against the 
Americans as a remote set of " rebels," with whom 
Englishmen had no interests in common, and thus 
obscure the real nature of the issue. Herein lie 
showed himself a cunning politician, though an 
ignoble statesman. By playing off against each 
other the two sections of the Whig party, he con- 
tinued for a while to carry his point ; and had he 
succeeded in overcoming the American resistance 
and calling into England a well-trained army 
of victorious mercenaries, the political quarrel 
there could hardly have failed to develop into 
a civil war, A new rebellion would perhaps 
have overthrown George III. as James II. had 



THE BEGINNINGS. 45 

been overthrown a century Tbefore. As it was, 
the victory of the Americans put an end to the 
personal government of the king in 1784, so quietly 
that the people scarcely realized the change. 1 A 
peaceful election accomplished what otherwise 
could hardly have been effected without bloodshed* 
So while George III. lost the fairest portion o the 
British Empire, it was the sturdy Americans who, 
fighting the battle of freedom at once for the Old 
World and for the New, ended by overwhelming 
his paltry schemes for personal aggrandizement in 
hopeless ruin, leaving him for posterity to con- 
template as one of the most instructive examples 
of short-sighted folly that modern history affords. 

1 See my Critical Period of American History, 



CHAPTER II. 

THE CRISIS. 

TOWNSHEND was succeeded in the exchequer 
by Lord North, eldest son of the Earl 

Lord Forth. J ' 

of (jinldiord, a young man 01 sound 
judgment, wide knowledge, and rare sweetness of 
temper, but wholly lacking in sympathy with pop- 
ular government. As leader of the House of Com- 
mons, he was sufficiently able in debate to hold 
his ground against the fiercest attacks of Burke 
and Fox, but he had no strength of will. His 
lazy good-nature and his Tory principles made 
him a great favourite with the king, who, through 
his influence over Lord North, began now to ex- 
ercise the power of a cabinet minister, and to take 
a more important part than hitherto in the direc- 
tion of affairs. Soon after North entered the cab- 
inet, colonial affairs were taken from Lord Shel- 
burne and put in charge of Lord Hillsborough, 
a man after the king's own heart. Conway was 
dismissed from the cabinet, and his place was 
taken by Lord Weymouth, who had voted against 
the repeal of the Stamp Act. The Earl of Sand- 
wich, who never spoke of the Americans but in 
terms of abuse, was at the same time made post- 
master-general ; and in the following year Lord 
Chatham resigned the privy seal. 



THE CRISIS. 4T 

While the ministry, by these important changes, 
was becoming more and more hostile to the just 
claims of the Americans, those claims John Dickin . 
were powerfully urged in America, both son * 
in popular literature and in well-considered state 
papers. John Dickinson, at once a devoted friend 
of England and an ardent American patriot, pub- 
lished his celebrated Farmer's Letters, which were 
greatly admired in both, countries for their tem- 
perateness of tone and elegance of expression. In 
these letters, Dickinson held a position quite sim- 
ilar to that occupied by Burke. Recognizing that 
the constitutional relations of the colonies to the^ 
mother country had always been extremely vague 
and ill-defined, he urged that the same state of 
things should be kept up forever through a genu- 
ine English feeling of compromise, which should 
refrain from pushing any abstract theory of sov- 
ereignty to its extreme logical conclusions. At 
the same time, he declared that the Townshend 
revenue acts were " a mosn dangerous innovation " 
upon the liberties of the people, and significantly 
hinted that, should the ministry persevere in its 
tyrannical policy, "English history affords ex- 
amples of resistance by force." 

While Dickinson was publishing these letters, 
Samuel Adams wrote for the Massachu- 
setts assembly a series of addresses to chusetts di- 

.1 , x-x* j. J.T i i culax letter. 

the ministry, a petition to the king, and 
a circular letter to the assemblies of the other 
colonies. In these very able state papers, Adams 
declared that a proper representation of American 
interests in the British Parliament was imprao- 



48 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

ticable, and that, in accordance with, the spirit of 
the English Constitution, no taxes could be levied 
in America except by the colonial legislatures. He 
argued that the Townshend acts were unconstitu- 
tional, and asked that they should be repealed, 
and that the colonies should resume the position 
which they had occupied before the beginning 
of the present troubles. The petition to the king 
was couched in beautiful and touching language, 
but the author seems to have understood very 
well how little effect it was likely to produce. 
His daughter, Mrs. Wells, used to tell how one 
evening, as her father had just finished writing 
this petition, and had taken up his hat to go out, 
she observed that the paper would soon be touched 
by the royal hand. " More likely, my dear," he 
replied, " it will be spurned by the royal foot ! " 
Adams rightly expected much more from the cir- 
cular letter to the other colonies, in which he in- 
vited them to cooperate with Massachusetts in 
resisting the Townshend acts, and in petitioning 
for their repeal. The assembly, having adopted 
all these papers by a large majority, was forth- 
with prorogued by Governor Bernard, who, in a 
violent speech, called them demagogues to whose 
happiness " everlasting contention was necessary." 
But the work was done. The circular letter 
brought encouraging replies from the other col- 
onies. The condemnation of the Townshend acts 
was unanimous, and leading merchants in most of 
the towns entered into agreements not to import 
any more English goods until the acts should be 
repealed. Ladies formed associations, under the 



THE CRISIS. 49 

name of Daughters of Liberty, pledging them- 
selves to wear homespun clothes and to abstain 
from drinking tea. The feeling of the country 
was thus plainly enough expressed, but nowhere 
as yet was there any riot or disorder, and no one 
as yet, except, perhaps, Samuel Adams, had begun 
to think of a political separation from England. 
Even he did not look upon such a course as desir- 
able, but the treatment of his remonstrances by 
the king and the ministry soon led him to change 
his opinion. 

The petition of the Massachusetts assembly was 
received by the king with silent contempt, but the 
circular letter threw him into a rage. In cabinet 
meeting, it was pronounced to be little better 
than an overt act of rebellion, and the ministers 
were encouraged in this opinion by letters from. 
Bernard, who represented the whole affair as the 
wicked attempt of a few vile demagogues to sow 
the seeds of dissension broadcast over the con- 
tinent. "We have before had occasion to observe 
the extreme jealousy with which the Crown had 
always regarded any attempt at con- Lord Hills _ 
certed action among the colonies which jjjj^f^to" 
did not originate with itself. But here Bernard - 
was an attempt at concerted action in flagrant 
opposition to the royal will. Lord Hillsborough 
instructed Bernard to command the assembly to 
rescind their circular letter, and, in case of their 
refusal, to send them home about their business. 
This was to be repeated year after year, so that, 
until Massachusetts should see fit to declare her- 
self humbled and penitent, she must go without 



50 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

a legislature. At the same time, Hillsborough 
ordered the assemblies in all the other colonies to 
treat the Massachusetts circular with contempt, 
and this, too, under penalty o instant dissolution. 
From a constitutional point of view, these arro- 
gant orders deserve to be ranked among the curi- 
osities of political history. They serve to mark 
the rapid progress the ministry was making in 
the art of misgovernment. A year before, Towns- 
hend had suspended the New York legislature by 
an act of Parliament. Now, a secretary of state, 
by a simple royal order, threatened to suspend all 
the legislative bodies of America unless they should 
vote according to his dictation. 

When Hillsborough' s orders were laid before 

the Massachusetts assembly, they were greeted 

with scorn. " We are asked to rescind," said Otis. 

" Let Britain rescind her measures, or 

The " niurtri- _ . _ , f ', 

ous Ninety- the colonies are lost to her iorever. 

Two." 

Nevertheless, it was only after nine 
days of discussion that the question was put, when 
the assembly decided, by a vote of ninety-two to 
seventeen, that it would not rescind its circular let- 
ter. Bernard immediately dissolved the assembly, 
but its vote was hailed with delight throughout 
the country, and the " Illustrious Ninety-Two " be- 
came the favourite toast on all convivial occasions. 
Nor were the other colonial assemblies at all readier 
than that of Massachusetts to yield to the secre- 
tary's dictation. They all expressed the most cor- 
dial sympathy with the recommendations of the 
circular letter ; and in several instances they were 
dissolved by the governors, according to Hillsbor- 
ougii's instructions. 



THE CRISIS. 51 

While these fruitless remonstrances against the 
Townshend acts had been preparing, the commis- 
sioners of the customs, in enforcing the acts, had 
not taken sufficient pains to avoid irritating the 
people. In the spring of 1768, the fifty-gun frigate 
Romney had been * sent to mount guard in the har- 
bour of Boston, and while she lay there several of 
the citizens were seized and impressed as seamen, 
a lawless practice long afterward com- Impressment 
mon in the British navy, but already stig- of citize ^- 
niatized as barbarous by public opinion in America. 
As long ago as 1747, when the relations between 
the colonies and the home government were quite 
harmonious, resistance to the press-gang had re- 
sulted in a riot in the streets of Boston. Now while 
the town was very indignant over this lawless 
kidnapping of its citizens, on the 10th of June, 
1768, John Hancock's sloop Liberty was seized at 
the wharf by a boat's crew from the Komney, for 
an alleged violation of the revenue laws, though 
without official warrant. Insults and recrimina- 
tions ensued between the officers and the citizens 
assembled on the wharf, until after a while the 
excitement grew into a mild form of riot, in which 
a few windows were broken, some of the officers 
were pelted, and finally a pleasure-boat, belonging 
to the collector, was pulled up out of the water, 
carried to the Common, and burned there, when 
Hancock and Adams, arriving upon the scene, put 
a stop to the commotion. A few days afterward, 
a town meeting was held in Faneuil Hall ; but 
as the crowd was too great to be contained in the 
building, it was adjourned to the Old South 



52 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Meeting-House, where Otis addressee! the people 
from the pulpit. A petition to the governor was 
prepared, in which it was set forth that the 
impressment of peaceful citizens was an illegal 
act, and that the state of the town was as if 
war had been declared against it ; and the gov- 
ernor was requested to order the instant removal 
of the frigate from the harbour. A committee 
of twenty-one leading citizens was appointed tc 
deliver this petition to the governor at his house 
in Jamaica Plain. In his letters to the secretary 
of state, Bernard professed to live in constant 
fear of assassination, and was always begging for 
troops to protect him against the incendiary and 
blackguard mob of Boston. Yet as he looked 
down the beautiful road from his open window, 
that summer afternoon, what he saw was not a 
ragged mob, armed with knives and bludgeons, 
shouting " Liberty, or death ! " and bearing the 
head of a revenue collector aloft on the point of a 
pike, but a quiet procession of eleven chaises, from 
which there alighted at his door twenty-one gentle- 
men, as sedate and stately in demeanour as those 
old Roman senators at whom the Gaulish chief so 
marveled. There followed a very affable inter- 
view, during which wine was passed around. The 
next day the governor's answer was read in town 
meeting, declining to remove the frigate, but prom- 
ising that in future there should be no impress- 
ment of Massachusetts citizens ; and with this com- 
promise the wrath of the people was for a moment 
assuaged. 

Affairs of this sort, reported with gross exagger- 



THE CRISIS. 53 

ation "by the governor and revenue commissioners 
to the ministry, produced in England the impres- 
sion that Boston was a lawless and riotous town, 
full of cutthroats and blacklegs, whose violence 
could be held in check only by martial law. Of 
all the misconceptions of America by England 
which brought about the American devolution, 
perhaps this notion of the turbulence of Boston 
was the most ludicrous. During the ten years of 
excitement which preceded the War of Indepen- 
dence there was one disgraceful riot in Boston, 
that in which Hutchinson's house was sacked ; but 
in all this time not a drop of blood was shed by 
the people, nor was anybody's life for a moment in 
danger at their hands. The episode of the sloop 
Liberty, as here described, was a fair sample of 
the disorders which occurred at Boston at periods 
of extreme excitement ; and in any European town 
In the eighteenth century it would hardly have 
been deemed worthy of mention. 

Even before the affair of the Liberty, the gov- 
ernment had made up its mind to send troops to 
Boston, in order to overawe the popular party and 
show them that the king and Lord Hillsborougli 
were in earnest. The news of the Liberty affair, 
however, served to remove any hesitation that might 
hitherto have been felt. Vengeance was denounced 
against the insolent town of Boston. The most 
seditious spirits, such as Otis and Ad- statute of 
ams, must be made an example of, and SncSnSg L 
thus the others might be frightened into committed 
submission. With such intent, Lord a-teowL " 
Hillsborough sent over to inquire " if any person 



54 THE AMERICAN EEVOLUTION. 

had committed any acts which, under the statutes, 
of Henry VIII. against treason committed abroad, 
might justify their being brought to England for 
trial." This raking-up of an obsolete statute, en* 
acted at one of the worst periods of English his- 
tory, and before England had any colonies at all, 
was extremely injudicious. But besides all this, 
continued Hillsborough, the town meeting, that 
nursery of sedition, must be put down or overawed ; 
and in pursuance of this scheme, two regiments of 
soldiers and a frigate were to be sent over to Boston 
at the ministry's earliest convenience. To make an 
example of Boston, it was thought, would have a 
wholesome effect upon the temper of the Americans. 
It was now, in the summer of 1768, that Samuel 
Adams made up his mind that there was no hope 
of redress from the British government, and that 
the only remedy was to be found in the assertion 
Samiiei Adams ^ P -^ 09 ^ independence by the Ameri- 
Stod es i768 Ms can c l n i es ' The courteous petitions 
and temperate remonstrances of the 
American assemblies had been met, not by rational 
arguments, but by insulting and illegal royal or- 
ders ; and now at last an army was on the way 
from England to enforce the tyrannical measures 
of government, and to terrify the people into sub- 
mission. Accordingly, Adams came to the con- 
clusion that the only proper course for the colonies 
was to declare themselves independent of Great 
Britain, to unite together in a permanent confeder- 
ation, and to invite European alliances. We have 
his own word for the fact that from this moment 
until ihe Declaration of Independence, in 1776, he 



THE CRISIS. 55 

consecrated all Ms energies, with burning enthusi- 
asm, upon the attainment of that great object. 
Yet in 1768 no one knew better than Samuel 
Adams that the time had not yet come when his 
bold policy could be safely adopted, and that any 
premature attempt at armed resistance on the part 
of Massachusetts might prove fatal. At this time 9 
probably no other American statesman had thought 
the matter out so far as to reach Adams's conclu- 
sions. No American had as yet felt any desire to 
terminate the political connection with England. 
Even those who most thoroughly condemned the 
measures of the government did not consider the 
case hopeless, but believed that in one way or an- 
other a peaceful solution was still attainable. For 
a long time this attitude was sincerely and patiently 
maintained. Even Washington, when he came to 
take command of the army at Cambridge, after the 
battle of Bunker Hill, had not made up his mind 
that the object of the war was to be the indepen- 
dence of the colonies. In the same month of July, 
1775, Jefferson said expressly, " We have not raised 
armies with designs of separating from Great Brit- 
ain and establishing independent states. Necessity 
has not yet driven us into that desperate meas- 
ure." The Declaration of Independence was at last 
brought about only with difficulty and after pro- 
longed discussion. Our great-great-grandfathers 
looked upon themselves as Englishmen, and felt 
proud of their connection with England. Their 
determination to resist arbitrary measures was at 
first in no way associated in their minds with disaf- 
fection toward the mother-country. Besides this s 



56 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

the task of effecting a separation by military meas- 
ures seemed to most persons quite hopeless. It 
was not until after Bunker Hill had shown that 
American soldiers were a match for British sol- 
diers in the field, and after Washington's capture 
of Boston had shown that the enemy really could 
"be dislodged from a whole section of the country*, 
that the more hopeful patriots began to feel cou& 
dent of the ultimate success of a war for indepen- 
dence. It is hard for us now to realize how terrible 
the difficulties seemed to the men who surmounted 
them. Throughout the war, beside the Tories who 
openly sympathized with the enemy, there were 
many worthy people who thought we were " going 
too far/' and who magnified our losses and depre- 
ciated our gains, quite like the people who, in 
the War of Secession, used to be called " croak- 
ers." The depression of even the boldest, after 
such defeats as that of Long Island, was dreadful. 
How inadequate was the general sense of our real 
strength, how dim the general comprehension of 
the great events that were happening, may best be 
seen in the satirical writings of some of the loyal- 
ists. At the time of the French alliance, there 
were many who predicted that the result of this 
step would be to undo the work of the Seven Years' 
War, to reinstate the French in America with full 
control over the thirteen colonies, and to establish 
despotism and popery all over the continent. A 
satirical pamphlet, published in 17T9, just ten 
years before the Bastille was torn down in Paris, 
drew an imaginary picture of a Bastille which ten 
years later was to stand in New York, and, with 



THE CRISIS. 5T 

still further license of fantasy, portrayed Samuel 
Adams in the garb of a Dominican friar. Sucli 
nonsense is of course no index to the sentiments or 
the beliefs of the patriotic American people, but 
the mere fact that it could occur to anybody shows 
how hard it was for people to realize how com- 
petent America was to take care of herself. The 
more we reflect upon the slowness with which 
the country came to the full consciousness of its 
power and importance, the mor.e fully we bring 
ourselves to realize how unwilling America was to 
tear herself asunder from England, and how the 
Declaration of Independence was only at last re- 
sorted to when it had become evident that no other 
course was compatible with the preservation of 
our self-respect; the more thoroughly we realize 
all this, the nearer we shall come toward duly esti- 
mating the fact that in 1768, seven years before 
the battle of Lexington, the master mind of Sam- 
uel Adams had fully grasped the conception of a 
confederation of American states independent of 
British control. The clearness with which he saw 
this, as the inevitable outcome of the political con- 
ditions of the time, gave to his views and his acts, 
in every emergency that arose, a commanding in 
fluence throughout the land that was simply incal- 
culable. 

In September, 1768, it was announced in Boston 
that the troops were on their way, and would soon 
be landed. There happened to be a legal obstacle, 
unforeseen by the ministry, to their being quartered 
in the town. In accordance with the general act of 
Parliament for quartering troops, the regular bar- 



58 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

racks at Castle William in the harbour would hare 
to be filled before the town could be required to 
find quarters for any troops. Another clause of 
the act provided that if any military officer should 
take upon himself to quarter soldiers in any of his 
Majesty's dominions otherwise than as allowed by 
the act, he should be straightway dismissed the 
service. At the news that the troops 

Arrival of .. . r 

troops m were about to arrive, the governor was 

Boston. IT 

asked to convene the assembly, that it 
might be decided how to receive them. On Ber- 
nard's refusal, the selectmen of Boston issued a 
circular, in viting all the towns of Massachusetts to 
send delegates to a general convention, In order 
that deliberate action might be taken upon this 
important matter. In answer to the circular, dele- 
gates from ninety-six towns assembled in Faneuil 
Hall, and, laughing at the governor's order to " dis- 
perse," proceeded to show how, in the exercise of 
the undoubted right of public meeting, the colony 
could virtually legislate for itself, in the absence 
of its regular legislature. The convention, finding 
that nothing was necessary for Boston to do but 
insist upon strict compliance with the letter of the 
law, adjourned. In October, two regiments ar- 
rived, and were allowed to land without opposition, 
but no lodging was provided for them. Bernard, 
in fear of an affray, had gone out into the country ; 
but nothing could have been farther from the 
thoughts of the people. The commander, Colonel 
Dalrymple, requested shelter for his men, but was 
told that he must quarter them in the barracks at 
Castle William. As the night was frosty, how- 



THE CRISIS. 59 

ever, the Sons of Liberty allowed them to sleep 
in Faneuil Hall. Next day, the governor, finding 
everything quiet, came back, and heard Dalrym- 
pie's complaint. But in vain did he apply in turn 
to the council, to the selectmen, and to the justices 
of the peace, to grant quarters for the troops ; he 
was told that the law was plain, and that the Castle 
must first be occupied. The governor then tried 
to get possession of an old dilapidated building 
which belonged to the colony ; but the tenants had 
taken legal advice, and told him to turn them out 
if he dared. Nothing could be more provoking 
General Gage was obliged to come on from hi 
headquarters at New York ; but not even he, the 
Commander-in-chief of his Majesty's forces in 
America, could quarter the troops in violation of 
the statute without running the risk of being cash- 
iered, on conviction before two justices of the peace. 
So the soldiers stayed at night in tents on the 
Common, until the weather grew so cold that 
Dalrymple was obliged to hire some buildings for 
them at exorbitant rates, and at the expense of the 
Crown. By way of insult to the people, two can- 
non were planted on King Street, with their muz- 
zles pointing toward the Town House. But as the 
troops could do nothing without a requisition from 
a civil magistrate, and as the usual strict decorum 
was preserved throughout the town, there was 
nothing in the world for them to do. In case of 
an insurrection, the force was too small to be of 
any use ; and so far as the policy of overawing the 
town was concerned, no doubt the soldiers were 
more afraid of the people than the people of the 
soldiers. 



60 THE AMEEIGAN DEVOLUTION. 

No sooner were the soldiers thus established in 
Boston than Samuel Adams published a series of 
Letters of letters signed " Yindex," in which he 
<-vmdex. ar g ue d that to keep up "a standing 
army within the kingdom in time of peace, without 
the consent of Parliament, was against the law ; 
that the consent of Parliament "necessarily implied 
the consent of the people, who were always present 
in Parliament, either by themselves or by their 
representatives ; and that the Americans, as they 
were not and could not be represented in Parlia- 
ment, were therefore suffering under military 
tyranny over which they were allowed to exercise 
no control." The only notice taken of this argu- 
ment by Bernard and Hillsborough was an attempt 
to collect evidence upon the strength of which its 
author might be indicted for treason, and sent over 
to London to be tried; but Adams had been so 
wary in all his proceedings that it was impossible 
to charge him with any technical offence, and to 
have seized him otherwise than by due process of 
law would have been to precipitate rebellion in 
Massachusetts. 

In Parliament, the proposal to extend the act of 
Henry VIII. to America was bitterly opposed by 
Burke, Barrd, Powiiall, and Dowdeswell, and even 
by Grenville, who characterized it as sheer mad- 
ness ; but the measure was carried, nevertheless. 
Burke further maintained, in an eloquent speech, 
Debate in that the royal order requiring Massachu- 
Pariiament. ge ^ g ^ resc j n( j ] ier c i rC nlar letter was 

unconstitutional ; and l:ere again Grenville agreed 
with him. The attention of Parliament, during the 



THE CRISIS. 61 

spring of 1769, was occupied chiefly with Amer- 
ican affairs. Pownall moved that the Townshend 
acts should be repealed, and in this he was ear- 
nestly seconded by a petition of the London mer- 
chants ; for the non -importation policy of Ameri- 
cans had begun to bear hard upon business in 
London. After much debate, Lord North pro- 
posed a compromise, repealing all the Townshend 
acts except that which laid duty on tea. The more 
clearheaded members saw that such a compromise, 
which yielded nothing in the matter of principle, 
would do no good. Beckf ord pointed out the fact 
that the tea-duty did not bring in .300 to the gov- 
ernment ; and Lord Beauchamp pertinently asked 
whether it were worth while, for such a paltry 
revenue, to make enemies of three millions of peo- 
ple. Grafton, Camden, Conway, Burke, Barre, and 
DowdesweU wished to have the tea-duty repealed 
also, and the whole principle of parliamentary tax- 
ation given up ; and Lord North agreed with them 
in his secret heart, but could not bring himself to 
act contrary to the king's wishes. "America must 
fear you before she can love you," said Lord North. 
. . . " I am against repealing the last act of Parlia- 
ment, securing to us a revenue out of America ; I 
will never think of repealing it until I see America 
prostrate at my feet." " To effect this," said Barre, 
" is not so easy as some imagine ; the Americans are 
a numerous, a respectable, a hardy, a free people. 
But were it ever so easy, does any friend to his 
country really wish to see America thus coionei Bar- 
humbled ? In such a situation, she would r<5 ' 8 ****<& 
serve only as a monument of your arrogance and 



62 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

your folly. For my part, the America I wish to 
see is America increasing and prosperous, raising 
her head in graceful dignity, with freedom and 
firmness asserting her rights at your bar, vindicat- 
ing her liberties, pleading her services, and con- 
scious of her merit. This is the America that will 
have spirit to fight your battles, to sustain you 
when hard pushed by some prevailing foe, and by 
her industry will be able to consume your man- 
~dfactures, support your trade, and pour wealth 
and splendour into your towns and cities. If we do 
not change our conduct towards her, America will 
be torn from our side. . . Unless you repeal this 
law, you run the risk of losing America." But 
the ministers were deaf to Barre's sweet reason- 
ableness. " We shall grant nothing to the Ameri- 
cans," said Lord Hillsborough, " except what they 
may ask with a halter round their necks." " They 
are a race of convicted felons," echoed poor old 
Dr. Johnson, who had probably been reading 
M^U Flanders, " and they ought to be thankful 
for anything we allow them short of hanging." 

As the result of the discussion, Lord North's so- 
called compromise was adopted, and a circular was 
sent to America, promising that all the obnoxious 
acts, except the tea-duty, should be repealed. At 
the same time, Bernard was recalled from Massa- 
chusetts to appease the indignation of the people, 
and made a baronet to show that the ministry 
Thomas approved of his conduct as governor. 
HutcMnso D . jjis place was filled by the lieutenant- 
governor, Thomas Hutchinson a man of great 
learning and brilliant talent, whose "History of 



THE CRISIS. 63 

Massachusetts Bay " entitles Mm to a high rank 
among the worthies of early American literature. 
The next year Hutchinson was appointed governor 
As a native of Massachusetts, it was supposed by 
Lord North that he would Tbe less likely to irritate 
the people than his somewhat arrogant predeces- 
sor. But in this the government turned out to be 
mistaken. As to Hutchinson's sincere patriotism 
there can now be no doubt whatever. There was 
something pathetic in the intensity of his love for 
New England, which to him was the goodliest of 
all lands, the paradise of this world. He had been 
greatly admired for his learning and accomplish- 
ments, and the people of Massachusetts had elected 
him to one office after another, and shown him 
every mark of esteem until the evil days of the 
Stamp Act. It then appeared that he was a Tory 
on principle, and a thorough believer in the Brit- 
ish doctrine of the absolute supremacy of Parlia- 
ment, and popular feeling instantly turned against 
him. He was called a turncoat and traitor, and 
a thankless dog withal, whose ruling passion was 
avarice. His conduct and his motives were alike 
misjudged. He had tried to dissuade the Gren- 
ville ministry from passing the Stamp Act ; but 
when once the obnoxious measure had become law, 
he thought it his duty to enforce it like other laws. 
For this he was charged with being recreant to his 
own convictions, and in the shameful riot of Au- 
gust, 1765, he was the worst sufferer. No public 
man in America has ever been the object of more 
"virulent hatred. None has been more grossly mis- 
represented by historians. His appointment as 



64 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

governor, however well meant, turned out to be 
anything but a wise measure. 

While these things were going on, a strong word 
of sympathy caine from Virginia. When Hills- 
borough made up his mind to browbeat Boston, he 
thought it worth while to cajole the Virginians, and 
try to win them from the cause which Massachu- 
setts was so boldly defending. So Lord Botetourt, 
a most genial and conciliatory man, was sent over 
to be governor of Virginia, to beguile the people 
with his affable manner and sweet discourse. But 
between a quarrelsome Bernard and a gracious 
Botetourt the practical difference was little, where 
grave questions of constitutional right were in- 
virgmiareso- volved. In May, 1769, the Virginia 
lot!**, 17C9. legislature assembled at Williamsbxirgh. 
Among its members were Patrick Henry, Wash- 
ington, and Jefferson. The assembly condemned 
the Townshend acts, asserted that the people of 
Virginia could be taxed only by their own repre- 
sentatives, declared that it was both lawful and 
expedient for all the colonies to join in a protest 
against any violation of the rights of Americans, 
and especially warned the king of the dangers 
that might ensue if any American citizen were to 
be carried beyond sea for trial. Finally, it sent 
copies of these resolutions to all the other colonial 
assemblies, inviting their concurrence* At this 
point Lord Botetourt, dissolved the assembly ; but 
the members straightway met again in convention 
at the famous Apollo room of the Raleigh tavern, 
and adopted a series of resolutions prepared by 
Washington, in which they pledged themselves to 



THE CRISIS. 65 

continue the policy of non-importation until all the 
obnoxious acts of 1767 should be repealed. These 
resolutions were adopted by all the southern colo- 
nies. 

All through the year 1769, the British troops 
remained quartered in Boston at the king's ex- 
pense. According to Samuel Adams, their princi- 
pal employment seemed to be to parade in the 
streets, and by their merry-andrew tricks to excite 
the contempt of women and children. But the 
soldiers did much to annoy the people, to whom 
their very presence was an insult. They led 
brawling, riotous lives, and made the quiet streets 
hideous by night with their drunken shouts. 
Scores of loose women, who had followed the regi- 
ments across the ocean, came to scandalize the 
town for a while, and then to encumber the alms- 
house. On Sundays the soldiers would race horses 
on the Common, or play Yankee Doodle just out- 
side the church-doors during the services. Now 
and then oaths, or fisticuffs, or blows with sticks, 
were exchanged between soldiers and citizens, and 
once or twice a more serious affair occurred. One 
evening in September, a dastardly as- Assault on 
sault was made upon James Otis, in the Jamefl otifl> 
British Coffee House, by one Eobinson, a commis- 
sioner of customs, assisted by half a dozen army 
officers. It reminds one of the assault upon 
Charles Sumner by Brooks of South Carolina, 
shortly before the War of Secession. Otis was 
savagely beaten, and received a blow on the head 
with a sword, from the effects of which he never re* 
Covered, but finally lost his reason. The popular 



66 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

wrath at this outrage was Intense, but there was no 
disturbance. Otis brought suit against Robinson, 
and recovered 2,000 in damages, but refused to 
accept a penny of it when Robinson confessed 
himself in the wrong, and humbly asked pardon 
for his irreparable offence. 

On the 22d of February, 1770, an Informer 
named Richardson, being pelted by a party of 
school-boys, withdrew into his house, opened a 
window, and fired at random into the crowd, kill- 
ing one little boy and severely wounding another. 
He was found guilty of murder, but was pardoned, 
At last, on the 2d of March, an angry quarrel oc- 
curred between a party of soldiers and some of the 
workmen at a ropewalk, and for two or three days 
there was considerable excitement in the town, and 
people talked together, standing about the streets 
in groups ; but Hutchinson did not even take the 
precaution of ordering the soldiers to be kept 
within their barracks, for he did not believe that 
the people intended a riot, nor that the troops 
would dare to fire on the citizens without express 
permission from himself. On the evening of 
March 5th, at about eight o'clock, a large crowd 
collected near the barracks, on Brattle Street, and 
from bandying abusive epithets with the soldiers 
began pelting them with snow-balls and striking 
at them with sticks, while the soldiers now and 
then dealt blows with their muskets. Presently 
The "Boston Captain Goldfinch, coming along, or- 
Mamcre." ^^ ^ mm ^to their barracks for 
the night, and thus stopped the affray. But 
meanwhile some one had got into the Old Brick 



THE CRISIS. 67 

Meeting-House, opposite the head of King Street, 
and rung the bell ; and this, being interpreted as 
an alarm of fire, brought out many people into the 
moonlit streets. It was now a little past nine. 
The sentinel who was pacing in front of the Cus- 
tom House had a few minutes before knocked 
down a barber's boy for calling names at the cap- 
tain, as he went up to stop the affray on Brattle 
Street. The crowd in King Street now began to 
pelt the sentinel, and some shouted, " Kill him ! " 
when Captain Preston and seven privates from the 
twenty-ninth regiment crossed the street to his aid : 
and thus the file of nine -soldiers confronted an 
angry crowd of fifty or sixty unarmed men, who 
pressed up to the very muzzles of their guns, threw 
snow at- their faces, and dared them to fire. All 
at once, but quite unexpectedly and probably with- 
out orders from Preston, seven of the levelled 
pieces were discharged, instantly killing four men 
and wounding seven others, of whom two after- 
wards died. Immediately the alarm was spread 
through the town, and it might have gone hard 
with the soldiery, had not Hutchinson presently 
arrived on the scene, and quieted the people by 
ordering the arrest of Preston and his men. Next 
morning the council advised the removal of one of 
the regiments, but in the afternoon an immense 
town meeting, called at Faneuil Hall, adjourned 
to the Old South Meeting-House ; and as they 
passed by the Town House, the lieutenant-govern- 
or, looking out upon their inarch, judged " their 
spirit to be as high as was the spirit of their 
ancestors when they imprisoned Andros, while 



68 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

they were four times as numerous." All the way 
from the church to the Town House the street was 
crowded with the people, while a committee, headed 
by Samuel Adams, waited upon the governor, and 
received Ms assurance that one regiment should 
be removed. As the committee came out from the 
Town House, to carry the governor's reply to the 
meeting in the church, the people pressed back on 
either side to let them pass ; and Adams, leading 
the way with uncovered head through the lane thus 
formed, and bowing first to one side and then to 
the other, passed along the watchword, " Both regi- 
ments, or none ! " When, in the church, the ques- 
tion was put to vote, three thousand voices shouted, 
*' Both regiments, or none ! " and armed with this 
ultimatum the committee returned to the Town 
House, where the governor was seated with Colo- 
nel Dalrymple and the members of the council. 
Then Adams, in quiet but earnest tones, stretch- 
ing forth Ms arm and pointing his finger at Huteh- 
inson, said that if as acting governor of the prov- 
ince he had the power to remove one regiment he 
had equally the power to remove both, that the 
voice of three thousand freemen demanded that 
all soldiery be forthwith removed from the town, 
and that if he failed to heed their just demand, he 
did so at his peril. " I observed his knees to trem- 
ble," said the old hero afterward, " I saw his face 
grow pale, and I enjoyed the sight ! " Before 
sundown the order had gone forth for the removal 
of both regiments to Castle William, and not 
until then did the meeting in the church break up- 
From that day forth the fourteenth and twentv- 



TEE CRISIS. 69 

ninth regiments were known in Parliament as 
" the Sam Adams regiments.'* 

Such was tlie famous Boston Massacre. All tlie 
mildness of New England civilization is brought 
most strikingly before us in that truculent phrase. 
The careless shooting of half a dozen townsmen 
is described by a word which historians apply to 
such events as Cawnpore or the Sicilian Vespers. 
Lord Sherbrooke, better known as Robert Lowe, 
declared a few years ago, in a speech on the uses 
of a classical education, that the battle of Mara- 
thon was really of less account than a modern 
colliery explosion, because only one 
hundred and ninety-two of the Greek 
army lost their lives ! From such a 
point of view, one might argue that the Boston 
Massacre was an event of far less importance 
than an ordinary free fight among Colorado gam- 
blers. It is needless to say that this is not the his- 
torical point of view. Historical events are not to 
be measured with a foot-rule. This story of the 
Boston Massacre is a very trite one, but it has its 
lessons. It furnishes an instructive illustration of 
the high state of civilization reached by the people 
among whom it happened, by the oppressors as 
well as those whom it was sought to oppress. The 
quartering of troops in a peaceful town is something 
that has in most ages been regarded with horror. 
Under the senatorial government of Rome, it used 
to be said that the quartering of troops, even upon 
a friendly province and for the purpose of pro- 
tecting it, was a visitation only less to be dreaded 
than an inroad of hostile barbarians. When we 



70 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

reflect that the British, regiments were encamped 
in Boston during seventeen months, among a popu- 
lation to whom they were thoroughly odious, the 
fact that only half a dozen persons lost their lives, 
while otherwise no really grave crimes seem to 
have been committed, is a fact quite as creditable 
to the discipline of the soldiers as to the mod- 
eration o the people. In most ages and coun- 
tries, the shooting of half a dozen citizens under 
such circumstances would either have produced 
but a slight impression, or, on the other hand, 
would perhaps have resulted on the spot in a 
wholesale slaughter of the offending soldiers. The 
fact that so profound an impression was made 
in Boston and throughout the country, while at 
the same time the guilty parties were left to be 
dealt with in the ordinary course of law, is a strik- 
ing commentary upon the general peacef ulness and 
decorum of American life, and it shows how high 
and severe was the standard by which our fore- 
fathers judged all lawless proceedings. And here 
it may not be irrelevant to add that, throughout 
the constitutional struggles which led to the Rev- 
olution, the American standard of political right 
and wrong was so high that contemporary Euro- 
pean politicians found it sometimes difficult to un- 
derstand it. And for a like reason, even the most 
fair-minded English historians sometimes fail to 
see why the Americans should have been so quick 
to take offence at acts of the British government 
which doubtless were not meant to be oppressive. 
If George III. had been a blood-thirsty despot, 
like Philip II. of Spain; if General Gage had 



THE CRISIS. 71 

been another Duke of Alva ; If American citizens 
by tlie hundred had been burned alive or broken 
on the wheel in New York and Boston ; if whole 
towns had been given up to the cruelty and lost 
of a beastly soldiery, then no one not even Dr. 
Johnson would have found it hard to under- 
stand why the Americans should have exhibited a 
rebellious temper. But it is one signal character- 
istic of the progress of political civilization that 
the part played by sheer brute force in a barbarous 
age is fully equalled by the part played by a mere 
covert threat of injustice in a more advanced age. 
The effect which a blow in the face would produce 
upon a barbarian will be wrought upon a civilized 
man by an assertion of some far-reaching legal 
principle, which only in a subtle and ultimate 
analysis includes the possibility of a blow in the 
face. From this point of view, the quickness with 
which such acts as those of Charles Townshend 
were comprehended in their remotest bearings is 
the most striking proof one could wish of the high 
grade of political culture which our forefathers 
had reached through their system of perpetual 
free discussion in town meeting. They had, more- 
over, reached a point where any manifestation of 
brute force in the course of a political dispute was 
exceedingly disgusting and shocking to them. To 
their minds, the careless slaughter of six citizens 
conveyed as much meaning as a St. Bartholomew 
massacre would have conveyed to the minds of 
men in a lower stage of political development. It 
was not strange, therefore, that Samuel Adams and 
his friends should have been ready to make the 



72 THE AMERICAN EEVOLUTION. 

Boston Massacre the occasion of a moral lesson 
to their contemporaries. As far as the poor sol- 
diers were concerned, the most significant fact is 
that there was no attempt to wreak a paltry ven- 
geance on them. Brought to trial on a charge 
of murder, after a judicious delay of seven months, 
they were ably defended by John Adams and 
Josiah Quincy, and all were acquitted save two, 
who were convicted of manslaughter, and let off 
with slight punishment. There were some hot- 
heads who grumbled at the verdict, but the people 
of Boston generally acquiesced in it, as they showed 
by immediately choosing John Adams for their 
representative in the assembly, a fact which Mr. 
Lecky calls very remarkable. Such an event as 
the Boston Massacre could not fail for a long time 
to point a moral among a people so unused to vio- 
lence and bloodshecl. One of the earliest of Amer- 
ican engravers, Paul Revere, published a quaint 
coloured engraving of the scene in King Street, 
which for a long time was widely circulated, though 
it has now become very scarce. At the same time, 
it was decided that the fatal Fifth of March should 
be solemnly commemorated each year by an ora- 
tion to be delivered in the Old South Meeting- 
House ; and this custom was kept up until the 
recognition ^f American independence in 1783, 
when the day for the oration was changed to the 
Fourth of July. 

Five weeks before the Boston Massacre the 
Lord North's Duke of Grafton had resigned, and 
ministry. ,ord North had become prime minister 
of England. The colonies were kept under Hills- 



THE CRISIS. 78 

borough, and that great friend of arbitrary gov- 
ernment, Lord Thurlow, as solicitor-general, be- 
came the king's chief legal adviser. George III. 
was now, to all intents and purposes, his own 
prime minister, and remained so until after the 
overthrow at Yorktown. The colonial policy of 
the government soon became more vexatious than 
ever. The promised repeal of all the Townshend 
acts, except the act imposing the tea-duty, was 
carried through Parliament in April, and its first 
effect in America, as Lord North had foreseen, was 
to weaken the spirit of opposition, and to divide 
the more complaisant colonies from those ( that were 
most staunch. The policy of non-importation had 
pressed with special severity upon the commerce of 
New York, and the merchants there complained 
that these fire -eating planters of Virginia and 
farmers of Massachusetts were growing rich at the 
expense of their neighbours. In July, Themerchanta 
the New York merchants broke the non- ofNewy rk * 
importation agreement, and sent orders to England 
for all sorts of merchandise except tea* Such a 
measure, on the part of so great a seaport, virtually 
overthrew the non-importation policy, upon which 
the patriots mainly relied to force the repeal of the 
Tea Act. The wrath of the other colonies was in- 
tense. At the Boston town meeting the letter of 
the New York merchants was torn in pieces. In 
New Jersey, the students of Princeton College, 
James Madison being one of the number, assembled 
on the green in their black gowns and solemnly 
burned the letter, while the charch-bells were tolled. 
The offending merchants were stigmatized as 



74 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

" Kevolters," and in Charleston their conduct was 
vehemently denounced. " You had better send us 
your old liberty-pole," said Philadelphia to New 
York, with bitter sarcasm, " for you clearly have 
no further use for it." 

This breaking of the non-importation agreement 
by New York left no general issue upon which the 
colonies could be sure to unite unless the ministry 
should proceed to force an issue upon the Tea Act. 
For the present, Lord North saw the advantage he 
had gained, and was not inclined to take any such 
step. Nevertheless, as just observed, the policy of 
the government soon became more vexatious than 
ever. In the summer of 1770, the king entered 
upon a series of local quarrels with the different 
colonies, taking care not to raise any general issue. 
Hoyal instructions were sent over to the different 
governments, enjoining courses of action which 
were unconstitutional and sure to offend the people. 
The assemblies were either dissolved, or 

Assemblies 1 

convened in convened at strange places, as at Jbieau- 

strange places. . f * - 

fort in South Carolina, more than sev- 
enty miles from the capital, or at Cambridge in 
Massachusetts. The local governments were as far 
as possible ignored, and local officers were ap- 
pointed, with salaries to be paid by the Crown. 
In Massachusetts, these officers were illegally ex- 
Taxes in empted from the payment of taxes. In 
Maryland. Maryland, where the charter had ex- 
pressly provided that no taxes could ever be levied 
by the British Crown, the governor was ordered to 
levy taxes indirectly by reviving a law regulat- 
ing officers' fees, which had expired by lapse of 



THE CRISIS. 75 

time. In North Carolina, excessive fees were ex- 
torted, and the sheriffs in many eases collected 
taxes of which they rendered no account. The 
upper counties of both the Carolinas were peopled 
by a hardy set of small farmers and herdsmen, 
Presbyterians, of Scotch-Irish pedigree, who were 
known by the name of " Regulators," because, 
under the exigencies of their rough frontier life, 
they formed voluntary associations for the regula- 
tion of their own police and the condign punish- 
ment of horse-thieves and other criminals. In 
1771, the North Carolina Kegulators, 
goaded by repeated acts of extortion and Carolina 

* , J , * , . "Regulator" 

or unlawiul imprisonment, rose in re- 
bellion. A fierce battle was fought at Alamance, 
near the headwaters of the Cape Fear river, in 
wlnun the Regulators were totally defeated by 
Governor Tryon, leaving two hundred of their 
number dead and wounded upon the field : and six 
of their leaders, taken prisoners, were summarily 
hanged for treason. For this achievement Tryon 
was pronounced the ablest of the colonial gov- 
ernors, and was soon promoted to the governor- 
ship of New York, where he left his name for a 
time upon the vaguely defined wilderness beyond 
Schenectady, known in the literature of the Rev- 
olutionary War as Tryon County. The barbarous 
condition of the frontier where these scenes oc- 
curred, and the fact that the militia of the lower 
counties voluntarily assisted the governor in his 
campaign against the Regulators, deprived these 
events of much of the influence they might other- 
wise have had upon the country ; so that it is not 



76 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

the Cape Fear but the Concord river that ordi- 
narily occurs to us, when we think of the first Hood- 
shed in the Eevolutionary War. 

In Ehode Island, the eight-gun schooner Gaspee, 
commanded by Lieutenant Duddington, was com- 
missioned to enforce the revenue acts along the 
coasts of Narragansett Bay, and she set about the 
Affairof the work with reckless and indiscriniinating 
Gaspee - zeal. "Thorough" was Duddington's 
motto, as it was Lord Stafford's. He not only 
stopped and searched every vessel that entered the 
bay, and seized whatever goods he pleased, whether 
there was any evidence of their being contraband 
or not, but, besides this, he stole the sheep and 
hogs of the farmers near the coast, cut down their 
trees, fired upon market-boats, and behaved in gen- 
eral with unbearable insolence. In March, 1772, 
the people of Ehode Island complained of these out- 
rages. The matter was referred to Rear-Admiral 
Montagu, commanding the little fleet in Boston 
harbour. Montagu declared that the lieutenant 
was only doing his duty, and threatened the Ehode 
Island people in case they should presume to inter- 
fere. For three months longer the Gaspee kept 
up her irritating behaviour, until one evening in 
June, while chasing a swift American ship, she ran 
aground. The following night she was attacked by 
a party of men in eight boats, and captured after a 
short skirmish, in which Duddington was severely 
wounded. The crew was set on shore, and the 
schooner was burned to the water's edge. This 
act of reprisal was not relished by the govern- 
ment, and large rewards were offered for the arrest 



THE CRISIS. 11 

of the men concerned In it ; but although probably 
everybody knew who they were, it was impossible 
to obtain any evidence against them. By a royal 
order in council, the Rhode Island government 
was commanded to arrest the offenders and de- 
liver them to Eear- Admiral Montagu, to be taken 
over to England for trial ; but Stephen Hopkins 5 
the venerable chief justice of Rhode Island, flatly 
refused to take cognizance of any such arrest if 
made within the colony. 

The black thunder-clouds of war now gathered 
quickly. In August, 1772, the king ventured 
upon an act which went further than anything 
that had yet occurred toward hastening The8alariesof 
on the crisis. It was ordered that all ^judges. 
the Massachusetts judges, holding their places 
during the king's pleasure, should henceforth have 
their salaries paid by the Crown, and not by the 
colony. This act, which aimed directly at the in- 
dependence of the judiciary, aroused intense in- 
dignation. The people of Massachusetts were 
furious, and Samuel Adams now took a step which 
contributed more than anything that had yet been 
done toward organizing the opposition to the king 
throughout the whole country. The idea of es- 
tablishing committees of correspondence was not 
wholly new. The great preacher Jonathan Mayhew 
had recommended such a step to James Otis in 
1766, and he was led to it through his .experience 
of church matters. Writing in haste, on a Sunday 
morning, he said, " To a good man all time is holy 
enough ; and none is too holy to do good, or to. 
think upon it. Cultivating a good understanding 



78 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

and hearty friendship between these colonies ap- 
pears to me so necessary a part of pru- 

JonathanMay- r J r 

hew'ssugges- dence and good policy that no tavoura- 
" ble opportunity for that purpose should 

he omitted. . . . You have heard of the commun- 
ion of churches : . . . while I was thinking of 
this in my bed, the great use and importance of 
a communion of colonies appeared to me in a 
strong light, which led me immediately to set down 
these hints to transmit to you." The plan which 
Mayhew had in mind was the establishment of a 
regular system of correspondence whereby the colo- 
nies could take combined action in defence of their 
liberties. In the grand crisis of 1772, Samuel 
Adams saw how much might be effected through 
committees of correspondence that could not well 
be effected through the ordinary governmental ma- 
chinery of the colonies. At the October town 
meeting in Boston, a committee was appointed to 
ask the governor whether the judges' salaries were 
to be paid in conformity to the royal order ; and 
he was furthermore requested to convoke the as- 
sembly, in order that the people might have a 
chance to express their views on so important a 
matter. But Hutchinson told the committee to 
mind its own business : he refused to say what 
would be done about the salaries, and denied the 
right of the town to petition for a meeting of the 
assembly. Massachusetts was thus virtually with- 
out a general government at a moment when the 
public mind was agitated by a question of supreme 
importance. Samuel Adams thereupon in town 
meeting moved the appointment of a committee of 



THE CRISIS. 79 

correspondence, " to consist o twenty-one persons, 
to state the rights o the colonists and of this prov- 
ince in particular, as men and Christians and as sub- 
iects ; and to communicate and publish 

u * The commit- 

the same to the several towns and to the tees of cone- 

. t spondence in 

world as the sense or this town, with Massachu- 
the infringements and violations thereof 
that have been, or from time to time may be 9 
made.*' The adoption of this measure at first ex- 
cited the scorn of Hutchinson,-who described the 
committee as composed of "deacons," "atheists," 
and "black-hearted fellows," whom one would not 
care to meet in the dark. He predicted that they 
would only make themselves ridiculous, but lie 
soon found reason to change his mind. The re- 
sponse to the statements of the Boston committee 
was prompt and unanimous, and before the end of 
the year more than eighty towns had already or- 
ganized their committees of correspondence. Here 
was a new legislative body, springing directly from 
the people, and competent, as events soon showed, 
to manage great affairs. Its influence reached 
into every remotest corner of Massachusetts, it 
was always virtually in session, and no governor 
could dissolve or prorogue it. Though unknown 
to the law, the creation of it involved no violation 
of law. The right of the towns of Massachusetts 
to ask one another's advice could no more be dis- 
puted than the right of the freemen of any single 
town to hold a town meeting. The power thus 
created was omnipresent, but intangible. " This," 
said Daniel Leonard, the great Tory pamphleteer, 
two years afterwards, "is the foulest, subtlest, and 



80 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

most venomous serpent ever issued from the egg of 
sedition. It is tlie source of the rebellion. I saw 
the small seed when it was planted : it was a grain 
of mustard. I have watched the plant until it 
has become a great tree. The vilest reptiles that 
crawl upon the earth are concealed at the root 5 
the foulest birds of the air rest upon its branches. 
I would now induce you to go to work immediately 
with axes and hatchets and cut it down, for a 
twofold reason, because it is a pest to society, 
and lest it" be felled suddenly by a stronger arm, 
and crush its thousands in its fall." 

The system of committees of correspondence 
did indeed grow into a mighty tree ; for it was 
intercolonial ^ ot]lin g less ttan the beginning of the 
of American Union. Adams himself by 
no means intended to confine Hs plan 
to Massachusetts, for in the following April he 
wrote to Eichard Henry Lee of Virginia urging 
the establishment 'of similar committees in every 
colony. But Virginia had already acted in the 
matter. When its assembly met in March, 1773, 
the news of the refusal of Hopkins to obey the 
royal order, of the attack upon the Massachusetts 
judiciary, and of the organization of the com- 
mittees of correspondence was the all-exciting sub- 
jects of conversation. The motion to establish a 
system of intercolonial committees of correspon- 
dence was made by the youthful Dabney Carr, 
and eloquently supported by Patrick Henry and 
Richard Henry Lee. It was unanimously adopted, 
and very soon several other colonies elected com- 
mittees, in response to the invitation from Vir- 
ginia. 



THE CRISIS. 81 

This was the most decided step toward revolu- 
tion that had yet been taken by the Americans. 
It only remained for the various intercolonial com- 
mittees to assemble together, and there would be 
a Congress speaking in the name of the continent. 
To bring about such an act of union, nothing more 
was needed than some fresh course of aggression 
on the part of the British government which 
should raise a general issue in all the colonies ; 
and, with the rare genius for blundering which had 
possessed it ever since the accession of George III., 
the government now went on to provide such an 
issue. It was preeminently a moment when the 
question of taxation should have been let alone* 
Throughout the American world there was a strong 
feeling of irritation, which might still have been 
allayed had the ministry shown a yielding temper. 
The grounds of complaint had come to be different 
in the different colonies, and in some cases, in 
which we can clearly see the good sense of Lord 
North prevailing over the obstinacy of the king, 
the ministry had gained a point by yielding. In 
the Rhode Island case, they had seized a con- 
venient opportunity and let the matter drop, to 
the manifest advantage of their position. 

?i. it The question 

In Massachusetts, the discontent had of taxation 

. revived . 

come to be alarming, and it was skil- 
fully organized. The assembly had offered the 
judges their salaries in the usual form, and had 
threatened to impeach them if they should dare 
to accept a penny from the Crown. The recent 
action of Virginia had shown that these two most 
powerful of the colonies were in strong sympathy 



82 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

with one another. It was just this moment that 
George III. chose for reviving the question of 
taxation, upon which all the colonies would be 
sure to act as a unit, and sure to withstand him 
to his face. The duty on tea had teen retained 
simply as a matter of principle. It did not bring 
three hundred pounds a year into the British ex- 
chequer. But the king thought this a favourable 
time for asserting the obnoxious principle which 
the tax involved. 

Thus, as in Mrs. Gamp's case, a teapot became 
the cause or occasion of a division between friends. 
The measures now taken by the government 
brought matters at once to a crisis. None of the 
colonies would take tea on its terms. Lord Hills- 
borough had lately been superseded as colonial sec- 
retary by Lord Dartmouth, an amiable man like 
the prime minister, but like him wholly under the 
influence of the king. Lord Dartmouth's appoint- 
ment was made the occasion of introducing a series 
of new measures. The affairs of the East India 
Company were in a bad condition, and it was 
thought that the trouble was partly due to the loss 
of the American trade in tea. The Americans 
would not buy tea shipped from England, but they 
smuggled it freely from Holland, and the smug- 
gling could not be stopped by mere force. The 
best way to obviate the difficulty, it was thought, 
would be to make English tea cheaper in America 
than foreign tea, while still retaining the duty of 
threepence on a pound. If this could be achieved, 
it was supposed that the Americans would be sure 
to buy English tea by reason of its cheapness, and 



THE CE1SIS. 83 

would thus be ensnared into admitting the princi- 
ple involved in the duty. This Ingenious scheme 
shows how unable the king and his min- 
isters were to Imagine that the Ameri- SSsS 8 
cans could take a higher view of the scheine * 
matter than that of pounds, shillings, and pene^o 
In order to enable the East India Company to sell 
its tea cheap in America, a drawback was allowed 
of all the duties which such tea had been wont to 
pay on entering England on its way from China. 
In this way, the Americans would now find it ac- 
tually cheaper to buy the English tea with the 
duty on it than to smuggle their tea from Holland. 
To this scheme, Lord North said, It was of no use 
for any one to offer objections, for the king would 
have it so. " The king meant to try the question 
with America." In accordance with this policy, 
several ships loaded with tea set sail in the autumn 
of 1773 for the four principal ports, Boston, New 
York, Philadelphia, and Charleston. Agents or 
consignees of the East India Company were ap- 
pointed by letter to receive the tea in these four 
towns. 

As soon as the details of this scheme were known 
in America, the popular wrath was even greater 
than that which had been stirred up by the Stamp 
Act, and the whole country was at once in a blaze, 
from Maine to Georgia. Nevertheless, only legal 
measures of resistance were contemplated. In 
Philadelphia, a great meeting was held in October 
at the State House, and it was voted that who- 
soever should lend countenance to the receiving 
or unloading of the tea would be regarded as an 



84 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

enemy to Ms country. The consignees were then 

requested to resign their commissions, and did so. 

In New York and Charleston, also, the consignees 

threw up their commissions. In Boston, 

How Boston . ., , -, T * , ,1 

"became the a similar demand was made, but the 

battle-ground. . _ 1 

consignees doggedly refused to resign ; 
and thus the eyes of the whole country were di- 
rected toward Boston as the battlefield on which 
the great issue was to be tried. 

During the month of November many town 
meetings were held in Faneuil Hall. On the 17th, 
authentic intelligence was brought that the tea- 
ships would soon arrive. The next day, a com- 
mittee, headed by Samuel Adams, waited upon the 
consignees, and again asked them to resign. Upon 
their refusal, the town meeting instantly dissolved 
itself, without a word of comment or debate ; and 
at this ominous silence the consignees and the gov- 
ernor were filled with a vague sense of alarm, as 
if some storm were brewing whereof none could 
foresee the results. All felt that the decision now 
rested with the committees of correspondence. 
Four days afterward, the committees of Cambridge, 
Brookline, Eoxbury, and Dorchester met the Bos- 
ton committee at Faneuil Hall, and it was unani- 
ite five towns niously resolved that on no account 
ask advice. ghould the te& be knded. The five 

towns also sent a letter to all the other towns in 
the colony, saying, " Brethren, we are reduced to 
this dilemma : either to sit clown quiet under this 
and every other burden that our enemies shall see 
fit to lay upon us, or to rise up and resist this and 
every plan laid for our destruction, as becomes 



THE CRISIS. 85 

wise freemen. In this extremity we earnestly re- 
quest your advice." There was nothing weak or 
doubtful in the response. From Petersham and 
Lenox perched on their lofty hilltops, from the 
valleys of the Connecticut and the Merrimack, 
from Chatham on the bleak peninsula of Cape 
Cod, there came but one message, to give up 
life and all that makes life -dear, rather than sub- 
mit like slaves to this great wrong. Similar words 
of encouragement came from other colonies. In 
Philadelphia, at the news of the bold stand Mas- 
sachusetts was about to take, the church-bells were 
rung, and there was general rejoicing about the 
streets. A letter from the men of Philadelphia to 
the men of Boston said, " Our only fear is lest you 
may shrink. May God give you virtue enough to 
save the liberties of your country." 

On Sunday, the 28th, the Dartmouth, first of the 
tea-ships, arrived in the harbour. The urgency 
of the business in hand overcame the Sabbatarian 
scruples of the people. The committee of corre- 
spondence met at once, and obtained from Rotch, 
the owner of the vessel, a promise that ^rivai of the 
the ship should not be entered before aft^ofd 18 
Tuesday. Samuel Adams then invited a uth * 
the committees of the five towns, to which Charles- 
town was now added, to hold a mass-meeting the 
next morning at JFaneuil Hall. More than five 
thousand people assembled, but as the Cradle of 
Liberty could not hold so many, the meeting was 
adjourned to the Old South Meeting-House. It 
was voted, without a single dissenting voice, that 
the tea should be sent back to England in the 



86 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

ship which had brought it. Botch was forbidden 
to enter the ship at the Custom House, and Cap- 
tain Hall, the ship's master, was notified that " it 
was at his peril if he suffered any of the tea 
brought by him to be landed." A night-watch of 
twenty-five citizens was set to guard the vessel, 
and so the meeting adjourned till next day, when 
it was understood that the consignees would be 
ready to make some proposals in the matter. 
Next day, the message was brought from the con- 
signees that it was out of their power to send back 
the tea ; but if it should be landed, they declared 
themselves willing to store it, and not expose any 
of it for sale until word could be had from Eng- 
land. Before action could be taken upon this 
message, the sheriff of Suffolk county entered the 
church and read a proclamation from the governor, 
warning the people to disperse and u surcease all 
further unlawful proceedings at their utmost peril.'* 
A storm of hisses was the only reply, and the busi- 
ness of the meeting went on. The proposal of the 
consignees was rejected, and Botch and Hall, being 
present, were made to promise that the tea should 
go back to England in the Dartmouth, without be- 
ing landed or paying duty. Resolutions were then 
passed, forbidding all owners or masters of ships 
to bring any tea from Great Britain to any part of 
Massachusetts, so long as the act imposing a duty 
on it remained unrepealed. Whoever should dis- 
regard this injunction would be treated as an en- 
emy to his country, his ships would be prevented 
from landing by force, if necessary and his 
tea would be sent back to the place whence it 



THE CRISIS. 8? 

came. It was further voted that the citizens of 
Boston and the other towns here assembled would 
see that these resolutions were carried into effect, 
" at the risk of their lives and property." No- 
tice of these resolutions was sent to the owners 
of the other ships, now daily expected. And, 
to crown all, a committee, of which Adams was 
chairman, was appointed to send a printed copy 
of these proceedings to New York and Philadel- 
phia, to every seaport in Massachusetts, and to the 
British government. 

Two or three days after this meeting, the other 
two ships arrived, and, under orders from the com- 
mittee of correspondence, were anchored by the 
side of the Dartmouth, at Griffin's Wharf, near 
the foot of Pearl Street. A military watch was 
kept at the wharf day and night, sentinels were 
placed in the church belfries, chosen post-riders, 
with horses saddled and bridled, were ready to 
alarm the neighbouring towns, beacon- 
fires were piled all ready for lighting* .- 

guard 

upon every hilltop, and any attempt to 
land the tea forcibly would have been the signal 
for an instant uprising throughout at least four 
counties. Now, in accordance with the laws pro- 
viding for the entry and clearance of shipping at 
custom houses, it was necessary that every ship 
should land its cargo within twenty days from its 
arrival. In case this was not done, the revenue 
officers were authorized to seize the ship and land 
its cargo themselves. In the case of the Dartmouth, 
the captain had promised to take her back to Eng- 
land without unloading ; but still, before she could 



88 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

legally start, she must obtain a clearance from the 
collector of customs, or, in default of this, a pass 
from the governor. At sunrise of Friday, the 17th 
of December, the twenty days would have expired. 

On Saturday, the llth, Kotch was summoned be- 
fore the committee of correspondence, and Samuel 
Adams asked him why he had not kept his promise, 
and started his ship off for England. He sought 
to excuse himself on the ground that he had not 
the power to do so, whereupon he was told that he 
must apply to the collector for a clearance. Hear- 
ing of these things, the governor gave strict orders 
at the Castle to fire upon any vessel trying to get 
out to sea without a proper permit ; and two 
ships from Montagu's fleet, which had been laid 
up for the winter, were stationed at the entrance 
of the harbour, to make sure against the Dart- 
mouth's going out. Tuesday came, and Rotch, hav- 
ing done nothing, was summoned before the town 
meeting, and peremptorily ordered to apply for a 
clearance. Samuel Adams and nine other gentle- 
men accompanied him to the Custom House to wit- 
ness the proceedings, but the collector refused to 
give an answer until the next day. The meeting 
then adjourned till Thursday, the last of the twenty 
days. On "Wednesday morning, Kotch was again 
escorted to the Custom House, and the collector 
refused to give a clearance unless the tea should 
first be landed. 

On the morning of Thursday, December 16th> 
the assembly which was gathered in the Old South 
Meeting-House, and in the streets ab(^ut it, num- 
bered more than seven thousand people. It was 



THE CEISIS. 89 

to be one o tlie most momentous days In the his- 
tory of the world. The clearance having been re- 
fused, nothing now remained but to order Kotch 
to request a pass for his ship from the 

* :L Town meeting 

governor. >ut tne wary Hutcninson, attheoia 
well knowing what was about to be re- 
quired of him, had gone out to his country house 
at Milton, so as to foil the proceedings by his 
absence. But the meeting was not to be so trifled 
with. Eotch was enjoined, on his peril, to repair 
to the governor at Milton, and ask for his pass ; 
and while he was gone, the meeting considered 
what was to be done in case of a refusal. With- 
out a pass it would be impossible for the ship to 
clear the harbour under the guns of the Castle; 
and by sunrise, next morning, the revenue officers 
would be empowered to seize the ship, and save by 
a violent assault upon them it would be impossible 
to prevent the landing of the tea. " Who knows," 
said John Howe, " how tea will mingle with salt 
water ? " And great applause followed the sug- 
gestion. Yet the plan which was to serve as a last 
resort had unquestionably been adopted in secret 
committee long before this. It appears to have 
been worked out in detail in a little back room at 
the office of the " Boston Gazette," and there is no 
doubt that Samuel Adams, with some others of the 
popular leaders, had a share in devising it. But 
among the thousands present at the town meeting, 
it is probable that very few knew just what it was 
designed to do. At five in the afternoon, it was 
unanimously voted that, come what would, the tea 
should not be landed. It had now grown dark. 



90 THE AMERICAN EEVOLUTION. 

and the church was dimly lighted with candles, 
Determined not to act until the last legal method 
of relief should have been tried and found wanting, 
the great assembly was still waiting quietly in and 
about the church when, an hour after nightfall, 
Kotch returned from Milton with the governor's 
refusal. Then, amid profound stillness, Samuel 
Adams arose and said, quietly but distinctly, 
" This meeting can do nothing more to save the 
country." It was the declaration of war ; the law 
had shown itself unequal to the occasion, and noth- 
ing now remained but a direct appeal to force. 
Scarcely had the watchword left his mouth when 
a war-whoop answered from outside the door, and 
fifty men in the guise of Mohawk Indians passed 
quickly by the entrance, and hastened to Griffin's 
Wharf. Before the nine o'clock bell 
thrown into rang, the three hundred and forty-two 

the Itarbour. , -,T ,1,1 i * 

chests of tea laden upon the three snips 
had been cut open, and their contents emptied into 
the sea. Not a person was harmed ; no other prop- 
erty was injured ; and the vast crowd, looking upon 
the scene from the wharf in the clear frosty moon- 
light, was so still that the click of the hatchets 
could be distinctly heard. Next morning, the 
salted tea, as driven by wind and wave, lay in long 
rows on Dorchester beach, while Paul Severe, 
booted and spurred, was riding post-haste to PhiL 
adelphia, with the glorious news that Boston had 
at last thrown down the gauntlet for the king of 
England to pick up. 

This heroic action of Boston was greeted with 
public rejoicing throughout all the thirteen col* 



THE CRISIS. 91 

onies, and the other principal seaports were not 
slow to follow the -example. A ship laden with 
two hundred and fifty-seven chests of tea had ar- 
rived at Charleston on the 2d of December ; but 
the consignees had resigned, and after twenty days 
the ship's cargo was seized and landed ; and so, as 
there was no one to receive it, or pay the duty, it 
was thrown into a damp cellar, where it spoiled, 
In Philadelphia, on the 25th, a ship arrived with 
tea; but a meeting of five thousand men forced 
the consignees to resign, and the captain straight- 
way set sail for England, the ship having been 
stopped before it had come within the jurisdiction 
of the custom house. 

In Massachusetts, the exultation knew no bounds. 
" This," said John Adams, " is the most magnifi- 
cent movement of all. There is a dignity, a ma- 
jesty, a sublimity, in this last effort of the patriots 
that I greatly admire." Indeed, often as it has 
been cited and described, the Boston Tea Party 
was an event so great that even Ameri- 

., .1 Grandeur of 

can historians have generally railed to the Boston 

, . , . nm . - Tea Party. 

do it justice. Ims supreme assertion 
by a New England town meeting of the most fun- 
damental principle of political freedom has been 
curiously misunderstood by British writers, of 
whatever party. The most recent Tory historian, 
Mr. Lecky, 1 speaks of " the Tea-riot at Boston," 
and characterizes it as an " outrage." The most 
recent Liberal historian, Mr. Green, alludes to it 
as " a trivial riot." Such expressions betray most 

1 In his account of the American Revolution Mr. Lecky in- 
clines to the Tory side, but he is eminently fair and candid. 



92 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

profound misapprehension alike of the significance 
of this noble scene and o the political conditions 
in which it originated. There is no difficulty in 
denning a riot. The pages of history teem with 
accounts of popular tumults, wherein passion 
breaks loose and wreaks its fell purpose, unguided 
and unrestrained by reason. No definition could 
be further from describing the colossal event which 
occurred in Boston on the 16th of December, 1773, 
Here passion was guided and curbed by sound rea- 
son at every step, down to the last moment, in the 
dim candle-light of the old church, when the noble 
"Puritan statesman quietly told Ms hearers that the 
moment for using force had at last, and through 
no fault of theirs, arrived. They had reached a 
point where the written law had failed them ; and 
in their effort to defend the eternal principles of 
natural justice, they were now most reluctantly 
compelled to fall back upon the paramount law of 
self-preservation. It was the one supreme moment 
in a controversy supremely important to mankind, 
and in which the common sense of the world has 
since acknowledged that they were wholly in the 
right. It was the one moment of all that troubled 
time in which no compromise was possible. " Had 
the tea been landed," says the contemporary histo- 
rian Gordon, " the union of the colonies in oppos- 
ing the ministerial scheme would have been dis- 
solved ; and it would have been extremely difficult 
ever after to have restored it." In view of the 
stupendous issues at stake, the patience of the 
men of Boston was far more remarkable than their 
boldness. For the quiet sublimity of reasonable 



THE CRISIS. 93 

but dauntless moral purpose, the heroic annals of 
Greece and Some can show us no greater scene 
than that which the Old South Meeting-House 
witnessed on the day when the tea was destroyed* 
When the news of this affair reached England, 
it was quite naturally pronounced by 
Lord North a fitting culmination to ment received 
years of riot and lawlessness. This, 
said Lord George Germain, is what comes of their 
wretched old town meetings. The Americans have 
really no government. These " are the proceed- 
ings of a tumultuous and riotous rabble, who ought, 
if they had the least prudence, to follow their mer- 
cantile employments, and not trouble themselves 
with politics and government, which they do not 
understand. Some gentlemen say, * Oh, don't 
break their charter ; don't take away rights granted 
them by the predecessors of the Crown.' Who- 
ever wishes to preserve such charters, I wish him 
no worse than to govern such subjects." " These 
remarks," said Lord North, u are worthy of a great 
mind." " If we take a determined stand now," 
said Lord Mansfield, 4C Boston will submit, and all 
wiE end in victory without carnage." " The town 
of Boston," said Mr. Venn, " ought to be knocked 
about their ears and destroyed. You will never 
meet with proper obedience to the laws of this 
country until you have .destroyed that nest of lo- 
custs." General Gage, who had just come home 
on a visit, assured the king that the other colonies 
might speak fair words to Massachusetts, but 
would do nothing to help her ; and he offered with 
four regiments to make a speedy end of the whole 



94 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

matter. "They will be lions," said Gage, "while 
we are lambs ; but if we take the resolute part, 
they will prove very meek, I promise you." It 
was in this spirit and under the influence of these 
ideas that the ministry took up the business of 
dealing with the refractory colony of Massachu- 
setts. Lord North proposed a series of five meas- 
ures, which, from the king's point of view, would 
serve, not only to heal the wounded pride of Great 
Britain, but also to prevent any more riotous out- 
breaks among this lawless American people. Just 
at this moment, the opposition ventured upon a 
bold stroke. Fox said truly that no plan for paci- 
fying the colonies would be worth a rush unless 
the unconditional repeal of the Tea Act should 
form part of it. A bill for the repealing of the 
Tea Act was brought in by Fuller, and a lively 
debate ensued, in the course of which Edmund 
Burke made one of the weightiest speeches ever 
heard in the House of Commons ; setting forth in 
all the wealth of his knowledge the extreme danger 
of the course upon which the ministry had entered, 
and showing how little good fruit was to be ex- 
pected from a coercive policy, even if successful. 
Burke was ably supported by Fox, Conway, Barre, 
Savile, Dowdeswell, Pownall, and Dunning. But 
the current had set too strongly against concilia- 
tion. Lord North sounded the keynote of the 
whole British policy when he said, " To repeal the 
tea -duty would stamp us with timidity." Come 
what might, it would never do for the Americans 
to get it into their heads that the government was 
not all-powerful. They must be humbled first, 



THE CRISIS. 95 

that they might be reasoned with afterwards. The 
tea-duty, accordingly, was not repealed, but Lord 
North's five acts for the better regulation of Amer- 
ican affairs were all passed by Parliament. 

By the first act, known as the Boston Port Bill, 
no ships were to be allowed to enter or The Boston 
clear the port of Boston until the rebel- FortBai - 
lions town should have indemnified the East India 
Company for the loss of its tea, and should other- 
wise have made it appear to the king that it would 
hereafter show a spirit of submission. Marble- 
head was made a port of entry instead of Boston, 
and Salem was made the seat of government. 

By the second act, known as the Eegulating Act, 
the charter of Massachusetts was an- - w 

T, -, . , ,. rheKegulat- 

nulied without preliminary notice, and ing Act - 
her free government was destroyed. Under the 
charter, the members of the council for each year 
were chosen in a convention consisting of the coun- 
cil of the preceding year and the assembly. Each 
councillor held office for a year, and was paid out 
of an appropriation made by the assembly. Now, 
hereafter, the members of the council were to be 
appointed by the governor on a royal writ of man- 
damus, their salaries were to be paid by the Crown, 
and they could be removed from office at the king's 
pleasure. The governor was empowered to appoint 
all judges and officers of courts, and all such offi- 
cers were to be paid by the king and to hold office 
during his pleasure. The governor and his depen~ 
dent council could appoint sheriffs and remove 
them without assigning any reason, and these 
dependent sheriffs were to have the sole right of 



96 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

returning juries. But, worse than all, the town- 
meeting system of local self-government was ruth- 
lessly swept away. Town meetings could indeed 
be held twice a year for the election of town offi- 
cers, but no other business could be transacted in 
them. The effect of all these changes would, of 
course, be to concentrate all power in the hands of 
the governor, leaving no check whatever upon his 
arbitrary will. It would, in short, transform the 
free commonwealth of Massachusetts into an abso- 
lute despotism, such as no Englishman had ever 
lived under in any age. And this tremendous act 
was to go into operation on the first day of the fol- 
lowing June. 

By the tHrd act a pet measure of George III.,, 
to which Lord North assented with great reluc- 
tance It was provided that if any magistrate, 
soldier, or revenue officer in Massachusetts should 
be indicted for murder, he should be tried, not in 
Massachusetts, but in Great Britain. This meas- 
ure though doubtless unintentionally served 
The shooting to encourage the soldiery in shooting 
of citizens. & owri peaceful citizens, and it led by a 
natural sequence to the bloodshed on Lexington 
green. It was defended on the ground that in case 
of any chance affray between soldiers and citizens, 
it would not be possible for the soldiers to obtain a 
fair trial in Massachusetts. Less than four years 
had elapsed since Preston's men had been so read- 
ily acquitted of murder after the shooting in King 
Street, but such facts were of no avail now. - The 
momentous bill passed in the House of Commons 
by a vote of more than four to one, in spite of Colo- 
nel Barre's ominous warnings. 



THE CRISIS, 97 

By the fourth act all legal obstacles to the quar- 
tering of troops in Boston or any other town In 
Massachusetts were swept away. 

By the fifth act, known as the Quebec Act, the 
free exercise of the Catholic religion was sanc- 
tioned throughout Canada, a very The Q Ue bec 
judicious measure of religious toleration, Acfc ' 
which concerned the other colonies but little, how- 
ever it might in some cases offend their prejudices. 
But this act went on to extend the boundaries of 
Canada southward to the Ohio river, in defiance 
of the territorial claims of Massachusetts, Connect- 
icut, New York, and Virginia. This extensive re- 
gion, the part of North America which was next 
to be* colonized by men of English race, was to be 
governed Iby a viceroy, with despotic powers ; and 
such people as should come to live there were to 
have neither popular meetings, nor habeas corpus, 
nor freedom of the press. " This," said Lord 
Thurlow, " is the only sort of constitution fit for a 
colony," and all the American colonies, he sig- 
nificantly added, had better be reduced to this 
condition as soon as possible. 

When all these acts had been passed, in April, 
1774, General Gage was commissioned to supersede 
Hutchinson temporarily as governor of Massachu- 
setts, and was sent over with as little 
delay as possible, together with the four Boston * 
regiments which were to scare the people into sub* 
mission* On the first day of June, he was to close 
the port of Boston and begin starving the town 
into good behaviour ; he was to arrest the leading 
patriots and send them to England for trial ; and 



98 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

he was expressly authorized to use Ms own discre- 
tion as to allowing the soldiers to fire upon the 
people. All these measures for enslaving peaceful 
and law-abiding Englishmen the king of England 
now contemplated, as he himself declared, u witli 
supreme satisfaction." 

In recounting such measures as these, the histo- 
rian is tempted to pause for a moment, and ask 
whether it could really have been an English gov- 
ernment that planned and decreed such things. 
From the autocratic mouth of an Artaxerxes or 
an Abderrahman one would naturally expect such 
edicts to issue. From the misguided cabinets of 
Spain and France, in evil times, measures in spirit 
like these had been known to proceed. But Eng- 
land had for ages stood before the world as the 
staunch defender of personal liberty and of local 
self-government ; and through the mighty strength 
which this spirit of freedom, and nothing else, had 
given her, she had won the high privilege of 
spreading her noble and beneficent political ideas 
over the best part of the habitable globe. Yet in 
the five acts of this political tragedy of 1774 we 
find England arrayed in hostility to every princi- 
ple of public justice which Englishmen had from 
time immemorial held sacred. Upon the great 
continent which she had so lately won from the 
French champions of despotism, we see her, in a 
fit of obstinate anger, vainly seeking to establish a 
tyrannical regime no better than that which but 
yesterday it had been her glory to overthrow. 
Such was the strange, the humiliating, the self- 
contradictory attitude into which England had at 



THE CRISIS. 99 

length been brought by the short-sighted Tory pol- 
icy of George III. ! 

But this policy was no less futile than it was 
unworthy of the noble, freedom - loving English 
people. For after that fated 1st of June, the sov- 
ereign authority of Great Britain, whether exerted 
through king or through Parliament, was never 
more to be recognized by the men ot Massacira 
setts. 



CHAPTER in. 

THE CONTINENTAL CONGKESS. 

THE unfortunate measures of April, 1774, were 
not carried through Parliament without earnest 
opposition. Lord Rockingham and his friends 
entered a protest on the journal of the House of 
Lords, on the grounds that the people of Massa- 
chusetts had not been heard in their own defence, 
Protests of the an( ^ ^^ the lives and liberties of the 
WM ^ 8 - citizens were put absolutely into the 

hands of the governor and council, who were thus 
invested with greater powers than it had ever been 
thought wise to entrust to the king and his privy 
council in Great Britain. They concluded, there- 
fore, that the acts were unconstitutional. The 
Duke of Kichmond could not restrain his burning 
indignation. "I wish," said he in the House of 
Lords, " I wish from the bottom of my heart 
that the Americans may resist, and get the better 
of the forces sent against them." But that the 
Americans really would resist, very few people in 
England believed. The conduct of the ministry 
was based throughout upon the absurd idea that 
the Americans could be frightened into submis- 
sion. General Gage, as we have seen, thought 
that four regiments would be enough to settle 
the whole business. Lord Sandwich said that 



TEE CONTINENTAL CONGHESS. 101 

the Americans were a set of undisciplined cow- 
ards, who would take to their heels at the Belief that ae 
first sound of a cannon. Even Hutch- ^X? 
inson, who went over to England about fighfc * 
this time, and who ought to have known of what 
stuff the men of Massachusetts were made, assured 
the king that they never would resist a regular 
army. Such blunders, however, need not surprise 
us when we recollect how, just before the war of 
secession, the people of the southern and of the 
northern states made similar mistakes with regard 
to each other. In 1860, it was commonly said by 
Southern people that Northern people would sub- 
mit to anything rather than fight ; and in support 
of this opinion, it was sometimes asked, " If the 
Northern people are not arrant cowards, why do 
they never have duels?" On the other hand, it 
was commonly said at the North that the Southern 
people, however bravely they might bluster, would 
never enter upon a war of secession, because it 
was really much more for their interest to remain 
in the Federal Union than to secede from it, an 
argument which lost sight of one of the commonest 
facts in human life, that under the influence of 
strong passion men are unable to take just viewt 
of what concerns their own interests. Such ex* 
amples show how hard it often is for one group ol 
men to understand another group, even when they 
are all of the same blood and speech, and think 
alike about most matters that do not touch the 
particular subject in dispute. Nothing could have 
been surer, either in 1860 or 1774, than that the 
one party to the quarrel was as bold and brave as 
the other. 



102 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Another fatal error under which the ministry 
laboured was the belief that Massachusetts would 
Belief that not ke s u PP orte( l ty the other colonies. 
Massachusetts Their mistake was not unlike that which 

would not be 

supported by ru i ne <l the plans of Napoleon III., when 

the other col- - 1 

onies. j^ declared war upon Prussia in 1870* 

There was no denying the fact o strong jealousies 
among the American colonies in 1774, as there was 
no denying the fact of strong jealousies between 
the northern and southern German states in 1870, 
But the circumstances under which Napoleon III. 
made war on Prussia happened to be such as to 
enlist all the German states in the common cause 
with her. And so it was with the war of George 
III. against Massachusetts. As soon as the char- 
ter of that colony was annulled, all the other colo- 
nies felt that their liberties were in jeopardy ; and 
thence, as Fox truly said, " all were taught to con- 
sider the town of Boston as suffering in the com- 
mon cause." 

News of the Boston Port Bill was received in 
America on the 10th of May. On the 12th the 
committees of several Massachusetts towns held a 
convention at Faneuil Hall, and adopted a circular 
letter, prepared by Samuel Adams, to be sent to 
all the other colonies, asking for their sympathy 
and cooperation. The response was prompt and 
emphatic. In the course of the summer, conven- 
tions were held in nearly all the colonies, declar- 
News of the *** ***at Boston should be regarded as 
Port BUI. <c suffering in the common cause." The 
obnoxious acts of Parliament were printed on 
paper with deep black borders, and in some towns 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGHSSS. 103 

were publicly burned by the common hangman. 
Droves of cattle and flocks of sheep, cartloads of 
wheat and maize, kitchen vegetables and fruit, 
barrels of sugar, quintals of dried fish, provisions 
of every sort, were sent overland as free gifts to 
the people of the devoted city, even the distant 
rice-swamps of South Carolina contributing their 
share. The over - cautious Franklin had written 
from London, suggesting that perhaps it might 
be best, after all, for Massachusetts to indemnify 
the East India Company; but Gadsden, with a 
sounder sense of the political position, sent word, 
" Don't pay for an ounce of the damned tea." 
Throughout the greater part of the country the 
1st of June was kept as a day of fasting and 
prayer ; bells were muffled and tolled in the prin 
cipal churches; ships in the harbours put their 
flags at half-mast. Marblehead, which was ap- 
pointed to supersede Boston as port of entry, im- 
mediately invited the merchants of Boston to use 
its wharfs and warehouses free of charge in ship- 
ping and unshipping their goods. A policy of 
absolute non-importation was advocated by many 
of the colonies, though. Pennsylvania, under the 
influence of Dickinson, still vainly cherishing 
hopes of reconciliation, hung back, and advised 
that the tea should be paid for. As usual, the 
warmest sympathy with New England came from 
Virginia. "If need be," said Washington, "I 
will raise one thousand men, subsist them at my 
own expense, and march myself at their head for 
the relief of Boston." 

To insure concerted action on the part of the. 



104 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

whole country, something more was required than 
these general expressions and acts of sympathy. 
The proposal for a Continental Congress came 
first from the Sons of Liberty in New York ; it 
was immediately taken up by the members of the 
Virginia legislature, sitting in convention at the 
Ealeigh tavern, after the governor had dissolved 
them as a legislature, and Massachusetts was in 
vited to appoint the time and place for the meet- 
ing of the Congress. On the 7th of June the 
Samuel Adams Massachusetts assembly was convened 
at saiem. ^ Salem by General Gage, in conform- 
ity with the provisions of the Port Bill. Samuel 
Adams always preferred to use the ordinary means 
of transacting public business so long as they 
were of avail, and he naturally wished to have the 
act appointing a Continental Congress passed by 
the assembly. But this was not easy to bring 
about, for upon the first hint that any such busi- 
ness was to come up the governor would instantly 
dissolve the assembly. In such case it would be 
necessary for the committees of correspondence 
throughout Massachusetts to hold a convention 
for the purpose of appointing the time and place 
for the Congress and of electing delegates to at- 
tend it. But Adams preferred to have these mat- 
ters decided in regular legislative session, and he 
carried his point. Having talked privately with 
several of the members, at last on the 17th of June 
a day which a twelvemonth hence was to be- 
come so famous the favourable moment came. 
Having had the door locked, he introduced his 
resolves, appointing five delegates to confer with 



THE CONTINENTAL CON&BESS. 105 

duly appointed delegates from the other colonies, 
in a Continental Congress at Philadelphia on the 
1st of September next. Some of the members, 
astonished and frightened, sought to pass out; 
and as the doorkeeper seemed uneasy at assuming 
so much responsibility, Samuel Adams relieved 
him of it by taking the key from the door and 
putting it into his own pocket, whereupon the busi- 
ness of the assembly went on. Soon one of the 
Tory members pretended to be very sick, and be- 
ing allowed to go out, made all haste to Governor 
Gage, who instantly drew up his writ dissolving 
the assembly, and sent his secretary with it. When 
the secretary got there, he found the door locked, 
and as nobody would let him in or pay any atten- 
tion to him, he was obliged to content himself with 
reading the writ, in a loud voice, to the crowd 
which had assembled on the stairs. The assembly 
meanwhile passed the resolves by 117 to 12, 
elected Samuel and John Adams, Thomas Cush- 
ing, and Robert Treat Paine as delegates, assessed 
the towns in the commonwealth for the necessary 
expenses, passed measures for the relief of Boston, 
and adjourned sine die. All the other colonies 
except Georgia, in the course of the summer, ac- 
cepted the invitation, and chose delegates, either 
through their assemblies or through special con- 
ventions. Georgia sent no delegates, but promised 
to adopt any course of action that should be de- 
termined upon. 

Before the time appointed for the Congress, 
Massachusetts had set the Regulating Act at de- 
fiance. On the 16th of August, 'when the court 



106 THE AMERICAN EEYOLUTION. 

assembled at Great Barrington, a vast multitude 
of farmers surrounded tie court-house and for- 
bade the judges to transact any business. Two or 
three of the councillors newly appointed on the 
king's writ of mandamus yielded In ad- 
vance to public opinion, and refused to 
take their places. Those who accepted 
were forced to resign. At Worcester 2,000 men 
assembled on the common, and compelled Timothy 
Paine to make his resignation In writing. The 
councillor appointed from Bridge water was a dea- 
con ; when he read the psalm the congregation 
refused to sing. In Plymouth one of the most 
honoured citizens, George Watson, accepted a place 
on the council ; as he took his seat in church on 
the following Sunday, the people got up and began 
to walk out of the house. Overcome with shame, 
for a moment his venerable gray head sank upon 
the pew before him; then he rose up and vowed 
that he would resign. In Boston the justices and 
barristers took their accustomed places In the 
court-house, but no one could be found to serve 
as juror in a court that was illegally constituted. 
Gage issued a proclamation warning all persons 
against attending town-meeting, but no one heeded 
him, and town-meetings were more fully attended 
than ever. He threatened to send an armed force 
against Worcester, but the people there replied 
that he would do so at his peril, and forthwith 
began to collect powder and ball. At Salem 
the people walked to the town-house under the 
governor's nose and in the very presence of a line 
of soldiers. On the 1st of September a -party 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 107 

of soldiers seized two hundred kegs of powder at 
Cliarlestown and two field-pieces at Cambridge, 
and carried them to Castle William. As the -news 
spread about the country, rumour added that the 
troops had fired upon the people, and within forty- 
eight hours at least 20,000 men were marching on 
Boston but they turned back to their homes on 
receiving word from the Boston committee that 
their aid was not yet needed. 

During these stirring events, in the absence of 
Samuel Adams, who had gone to attend the Con- 
gress ,t Philadelphia, the most active part in the 
direction of affairs at Boston was taken by Dr. 
Joseph Warren. This gentleman 

r ., , . , -r -, - J o ta Hancock 

one of a family which has produced and Joseph 

., . . . . r Warren. 

three very eminent physicians was 
graduated at Harvard College in 1759. He had 
early attracted the attention of Samuel Adams, 
had come to be one of his dearest friends, and had 
been concerned with him in nearly all of his public 
acts of the past seven years. He was a man of 
knightly bravery and courtesy, and his energy and 
fertility of mind were equalled only by his rare 
sweetness and modesty. With Adams and Han- 
cock, he was one of the great Massachusetts trium- 
virate of Revolutionary leaders. The accession 
of Hancock to the Revolutionary cause at an early 
period had been of great help, by reason of his 
wealth and social influence. Hancock was grad- 
uated at Harvard College in 1754. He was a 
gentleman of refinement and grace, but neither for 
grasp of intelligence nor for strength of character 
can he be compared with Adams or with Warren. 



108 THE AMmiCAN EVOLUTION. 

His chief weakness was personal vanity, but lie 
was generous and loyal, and under the influence 
of the iron-willed Adams was capaLle of good 
things. Upon Warren, more than any one else, 
however, Adams relied as lieutenant, who, under 
any circumstances whatever, would be sure to 
prove equal to the occasion. 

On the 5th of September Gage began fortifying 
Boston Neck, so as to close the only approach to 
the city by laud. Next day the county assize was 
to be held at Worcester ; but 5,000 armed men, 
drawn up in regular military array, lined each side 
of the main street, and the unconstitutionally ap- 
pointed judges were forbidden to take their seats. 
On the same day a convention of the towns of 
^ Suffolk Suffolk County was held at Milton, and 
JSS2fji. a series of resolutions, drawn up by Dr. 
6,1774. Warren, were adopted unanimously. 
The resolutions declared that a king who violates 
the chartered rights of his people forfeits their 
allegiance ; they declared the Eegulating Act null 
and void, and ordered all the officers appointed 
under it to resign their offices at once ; they di- 
rected the collectors of taxes to refuse to pay over 
money to Gage's treasurer ; they advised the towns 
to choose their own militia officers ; and they 
threatened the governor that, should he venture to 
arrest any one for political reasons, they would 
retaliate by seizing upon the Crown officers as 
hostages. A copy of these resolutions, which vir- 
tually placed Massachusetts in an attitude of re- 
bellion, was for warded to the Continental Congress, 
which enthusiastically indorsed them, and pledged 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 109 

the faith of all the other colonies that they would 
aid Massachusetts in case armed resistance should 
become inevitable, while at the same time they 
urged that a policy of moderation should be pre- 
served, and that Great Britain should be left to 
fire the first shot. 

On receiving these instructions from the Con- 
gress, the people of Massachusetts at once pro- 
ceeded to organize a provisional government in 
accordance with the spirit of the Suffolk resolves. 
Gage had issued a writ convening the assembly at 
Salem for the 1st of October, but before the day 
arrived he changed his mind, and prorogued it. 
In disregard of this order, however, the represen- 
tatives met at Salem a week later, organized them- 
selves into a provincial congress, with Provincial 
John Hancock for president, and ad- MaSui* 
journed to Concord. On the 27th they setts> 
chose a committee of safety, with Warren for 
chairman, and charged it with the duty of collect- 
ing military stores. In December this Congress 
dissolved itself, but a new one assembled at Cam- 
bridge on the 1st of February, and proceeded to 
organize the militia and appoint general officers. 
A special portion of the militia, known as " minute- 
men,'' were set apart, under orders to be ready to 
assemble at a moment's warning ; and the commit- 
tee of safety were directed to call out this guard 
as soon as Gage should venture to enforce the Eeg- 
ulating Act. Under these instructions every vil- 
lage green in Massachusetts at once became the 
scene of active drill. Nor was it a population un- 
used to arms that thus began to marshal itself into 



110 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

companies and regiments. During the French 
war one fifth of all the able-bodied men of Massa- 
chusetts had been in the field, and in 1757 the pro- 
portion had risen to one third. There were plenty 
of men who had learned how to stand under fire, 
and officers who had held command on hard-fought 
fields ; and all were practised marksmen. It is 
quite incorrect to suppose that the men who first 
repulsed the British regulars in 1775 were a band 
of farmers, utterly unused to fighting. Their lit- 
tle army was indeed a militia, but it was made up 
of warlike material. 

While these preparations were going on in Mas- 
of the sachusetts, the Continental Congress had 
assembled at Philadelphia on the 5th 
se P t.5,im. of g eptember . Peyton Randolph, of 

Virginia, was chosen president ; and the Adamses, 
the Livingstons, the Eutledges, Dickinson, Chase, 
Pendleton, Lee, Henry, and Washington took 
part in the debates. One of their first acts was 
to dispatch Paul Revere to Boston with their for- 
mal approval of the action of the Suffolk Conven- 
tion, After four weeks of careful deliberation 
they agreed upon a declaration of rights, claiming 
for the American people u a free and exclusive 
power of legislation in their provincial legislatures, 
where their rights of legislation could alone be 
preserved in all cases of taxation and internal pol- 
ity." This paper also specified the rights of which 
they would not suffer themselves to be deprived, 
and called for the repeal of eleven acts of Parlia-. 
ment by which these rights had been infringed. 
Besides this, they formed an association for insur- 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. Ill 

ing commercial non-intercourse with Great Britain, 
and charged the committees of correspondence 
with the duty of inspecting the entries at all cus- 
tom-houses. Addresses were also prepared, to be 
sent to the king, to the people of Great Britain, 
and to the inhabitants of British America. The 
10th of May was appointed for a second Congress,, 
in which the Canadian colonies and the Floridas 
were invited to join ; and on the 26th of October 
the Congress dissolved itself. 

The ability of the papers prepared by the first 
Continental Congress has long been fully admitted 
in England as well as in America. Chatham de- 
clared them unsurpassed by ai*y state papers ever 
composed in any age or country. But Parliament 
was not now in the mood for listening to reason. 
Chatham, Shelburne, and Camden urged in vain 
that the vindictive measures of the last April 
should be repealed and the troops withdrawn from 
Boston. On the 1st of February, Chatham intro- 
duced a bill which, could it liave passed, would no 
doubt have averted war, even at the eleventh hour. 
Besides repealing its vindictive meas- Debater 
ures, Parliament was to renounce for- Parliament - 
ever the right of taxing the colonies, while retain- 
ing the right of regulating the commerce of the 
whole empire ; and the Americans were to defray 
the expenses of their own governments by taxes 
Toted in their colonial assemblies. A few weeks 
later, in the House of Commons, Burke argued 
that the abstract right o Parliament to tax the col- 
onies was not worth contending for, and he urged 
that on large grounds of expediency it should be 



112 THE AMERICAN EEVOLUTION, 

abandoned, and that the vindictive acts should be 
repealed. But both Houses, by large majorities, 
refused to adopt any measures of conciliation, and 
in a solemn joint address to the king declared 
themselves ready to support him to the end in the 
policy upon which he had entered. Massachusetts 
was declared to be in a state of rebellion, and acts 
were passed closing all the ports of New England, 
and prohibiting its fishermen from access to the 
Newfoundland fisheries. At the same time it was 
voted to increase the army at Boston to 10,000 
men, and to supersede Gage, who had in all these 
months accomplished so little with his four regi- 
ments. As people in England had utterly failed 
to comprehend the magnitude of the task assigned 
to Gage, it was not strange that they should seek 
to account for his inaction by doubting his zeal 
and ability. No less a person than David Hume 
saw fit to speak of him as a " lukewarm coward." 
William Howe, member of Parliament for the 
liberal constituency of Nottingham, was chosen to 
supersede him. In his speeches as candidate for 
wiiHam election only four months ago, Howe 
H(we * had declared himself opposed to the 

king's policy, had asserted that no army that Eng- 
land could raise would be able to subdue the 
Americans, and, in reply to a question, had prom- 
ised that if offered a command in America he 
would refuse it. When he now consented to take 
Gage's place as commander-in-chief , the people of 
Nottingham scolded him roundly for breaking his 
word. 

It would be unfair, however, to charge Howe 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGEESS, 113 

with conscious breach of faith in this matter. His 
appointment was itself a curious symptom of the 
element of vacillation that was apparent in the 
whole conduct of the ministry, even when its atti- 
tude professed to be most obstinate and deter- 
mined. With all his obstinacy, the king did not 
really wish for war, much less did Lord North ; 
and the reason for Howe's appointment was simply 
that he was the brother to the Lord Howe who 
had fallen at Tieonderoga, and whose memory was 
idolized by the men of New England. Lord North 
announced that, in dealing with his misguided 
American brethren, his policy would be always to 
send the olive branch in company with the sword ; 
and no doubt Howe really felt that, by accepting a 
command offered in such a spirit, he might more 
efficiently serve the interests of humanity and jus- 
tice than by leaving it open for some one of cruel 
and despotic temper, whose zeal might outrun even 
the wishes of the obdurate king. At the same 
time, his brother Richard, Lord Howe, R^rd, 
a seaman of great ability, was appointed Lord Howe * 
admiral of the fleet for America, and was expressly 
entrusted with the power of offering terms to the 
colonies. Sir Henry Clinton and John Burgoyne, 
both of them in sympathy with the king's policy, 
were appointed to accompany Howe as lieutenant- 
generals. 

The conduct of the ministry, during this most 
critical and trying time, showed great uneasiness. 
When leave was asked for Franklin to present the 
case for the Continental Congress, and to defend it 
before the House of Commons, it was refused. Yet 



114 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

all through the winter the ministry were continu- 
ally appealing to Fraoklin, unofficially and in pri- 
vate, in order to find out how the Americans might 
be appeased without making any such concessions 
as would hurt the pride of England. Lord Howe 
was the most conspicuous agent in these negotia- 
tions, which only served to show, over and over 
again, how the main root of the trouble was the in- 
capacity of the British official mind to understand 
the character of the American people and the new 
political situation created by the enormous growth 
of the colonies. How to conciliate the Americans 
without giving up a single one of the false posi- 
tions which the king had taken was the problem, 
and no wonder that Franklin soon perceived it to 
be insolvable, and made up his mind to go home. 
He had now stayed in England for sev- 

JYanklin. re- ^ , /. -*- i 

turns to eral years, as agent tor Jrennsylvama 
and for Massachusetts. He had shown 
himself a consummate diplomatist, of that rare 
school which deceives by telling unwelcome truths, 
and he had some unpleasant encounters with the 
king and the king's friends. Now in March, 1775, 
seeing clearly that he could be of no further use in 
averting an armed struggle, he returned to Amer- 
ica. Franklin's return, was not, in form, like that 
customary withdrawal of an ambassador which her- 
alds and proclaims a state of war. But practi- 
cally it was the snapping of the last diplomatic 
link between the colonies and the mother-country. 
Still the ministry, with all its uneasiness, did 
not believe that war was close at hand. It was 
thought that the middle colonies, and especially 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 115 

New York, might be persuaded to support the gov- 
ernment, and that New England, thus Isolated, 
would, not venture upon armed resistance to the 
overwhelming power of Great Britain. The hope 
was not wholly unreasonable ; for the great middle 
colonies, though conspicuous for material prosper- 
ity, were somewhat lacking in force of political 
ideas. In New York and Pennsylvania the non- 
English population was relatively far more con- 
siderable than in the Southern or the The middle 
New England colonies. A considerable colonies - 
proportion of the population had come from the 
continent of Europe, and the principles of con- 
stitutional government were not so thoroughly 
inwrought into the innermost minds and hearts 
of the people, the pulse of liberty did not beat so 
quickly here, as in the purely English common- 
wealths of Virginia and Massachusetts. In Penn- 
sylvania and New Jersey the Quakers were natu- 
rally opposed to a course of action that must end in 
war; and these very honourable motives certainly 
contributed to weaken the resistance of these colo- 
nies to the measures of the government. In. New 
York there were further special reasons for the ex- 
istence of a strong loyalist feeling. The city of 
New York had for many years been the headquar- 
ters of the army and the seat of the principal royal 
government in America. It was not a town, like 
Boston, governing itself in town-meeting, but its 
municipal affairs were administered by a mayor, 
appointed by the king. Unlike Boston and Phila- 
delphia, the interests of the city of New York were 
almost piirely commercial, and there was nothing 



116 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

to prevent the little court circle there from giving 
the tone to public opinion. The Episcopal Church, 
too, was in the ascendant, and there was a not un- 
reasonable prejudice against the Puritans of New 
England for their grim intolerance of Episcopa- 
lians and their alleged antipathy to Dutchmen. 
The province of New York, moreover, had a stand- 
ing dispute with its eastern neighbours over the 
ownership of the Green Mountain region. This 
beautiful country had been settled by New England 
men, under grants from the royal governors of New 
Hampshire ; but it was claimed by the people of 
New York, and the controversy sometimes waxed 
not and gave rise to very hard feelings. Under 
these circumstances, the labours of the ministry to 
Lord North's secure this central colony seemed at 

cur- times likely to be crowned with success. 

r*. ^ assembly of New Y ork refused to 
adopt the non-importation policy enjoined by the 
Continental Congress, it refused to print letters of 
the committee of correspondence, and it refused 
to choose delegates to the second Congress which 
was to be held in May, The ministry, in return, 
sought to corrupt New York by exempting it from 
the commercial restrictions placed upon the neigh- 
bouring colonies, and by promising to confirm its 
alleged title to the territory of Vermont. All these 
hopes proved fallacious, however. In spite of ap- 
pearances, the majority of the people of New York 
were thoroughly patriotic, and needed only an op- 
portunity for organization. In April, under the 
powerful leadership of Philip Schuyler and the 
Livingstons, a convention was held, delegates were 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 117 

chosen to attend tlie Congress, and New York fell 
Into line with the other colonies. As for Pennsyl- 
vania, in spite of its peaceful and moderate tem- 
per, it had never shown any signs of willingness to 
detach itself from the nascent union. 

News travelled with slow pace in those days, and 
as late as the middle of May, Lord North, confident 
of the success of his schemes in New York, and 
unable to believe that the yeomanry of Massachu- 
setts would fight against regular troops, declared 
cheerfully that this American business was not so 
alarming as it seemed, and everything would no 
doubt be speedily settled without bloodshed ! 

Great events had meanwhile happened in Mas- 
sachusetts. All through the winter the resistance 
to General Gage had been passive, for the lesson 
had been thoroughly impressed upon the mind of 
every man, woman, and child in the 

., i _ Affairs in 

province that, in order to make sure of Mws 






the entire sympathy of the other colo- 
nies, Great Britain must be allowed to fire the first 
shot. The Eegulating Act had none the less been 
silently defied, and neither councillors nor judges, 
neither sheriffs nor jurymen, could be found to 
serve under the royal commission. It is striking 
proof of the high state of civilization attained by 
this commonwealth that although for nine months 
the ordinary functions of government had been 
suspended, yet the affairs of every-day life had 
gone on without friction or disturbance. Not a 
drop of blood had been shed, nor Lad any one's 
property been injured. The companies of yeomen 
meeting at eventide to drill on the village green, 



118 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

and now and tlien the cart laden with powder and 
ball that dragged slowly over the steep roads on its 
way to Concord, were the only outward signs of 
an unwonted state of things. Not so, however, in 
Boston. There the blockade of the harbour had 
wrought great hardship for the poorer people. 
Business was seriously interfered with, many per- 
sons were thrown out of employment, and in spite 
of the generous promptness with which provisions 
had been poured in from all parts of the country, 
there was great suffering through scarcity of fuel 
and food. Still there was but little complaint and 
no disorder. The leaders were as resolute as ever, 
and the people were as resolute as their leaders. 
As the 5th of March drew near, several British 
officers were heard to declare that any one who 
should dare to address the people in the Old South 
Church on this occasion would surely lose his life. 
As soon as he heard of these threats, Joseph War- 
ren solicited for himself the dangerous honour, and 
at the usual hour delivered a stirring 

Warren's ora- . . 

tionattheoid oration upon "the baleful influence of 

South. - 1 

standing armies in time of peace." The 
concourse in the church was so great that when the 
orator arrived every approach to the pulpit was 
blocked up ; and rather than elbow his way 
through the crowd, which might lead to some dis- 
turbance, he procured a ladder, and climbed in 
through a large window at the back of the pulpit. 
About forty British officers were present, some oS 
whom sat on the pulpit steps, and sought to annoy 
the speaker with groans and hisses, but everything 
passed off quietly.,, 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 119 

The boldness of Adams and Hancock in attend- 
ing this meeting was hardly less admirable than 
that of Warren in delivering the address. It was 
no secret that Gage had been instructed to watch 
his opportunity to arrest Samuel Adams and u his 
willing and ready tool," that " terrible desperado," 
John Hancock, and send them over to England to 
be tried for treason. Here was an excellent oppor- 
tunity for seizing all the patriot leaders at once ; 
and the meeting itself, moreover, was a town-meet- 
ing, such as Gage had come to Boston expressly to 
put down. Nothing more calmly defiant can be 
imagined than the conduct of people and leaders 
under these circumstances. But Gage had long 
since learned the temper of the people so well that 
he was afraid to proceed too violently. 

*, /,.-,,._ _ J Attempt to 

At nrst ne nad tried to corrupt Samuel corrupt sam- 
Adams with offers of place or pelf ; but Ue ams< 
he found, as Hutchinson had already declared, that 
such was " the obstinate and inflexible disposition 
of this man that he never would be conciliated by 
any office or gift whatsoever." The dissolution of 
the assembly, of which Adams was clerk, had put 
a stop to his salary, and he had so little property 
laid by as hardly to be able to buy bread for his 
family. Under these circumstances, it occurred to 
Gage that perhaps a judicious mixture of threat 
with persuasion might prove effectual. So he sent 
Colonel Fenton with a confidential message to 
Adams. The officer, with great politeness, began 
by saying that " an adjustment of the existing dis- 
putes was very desirable ; that he was authorized 
by Governor Gage to assure him that he had been 



120 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

empowered to confer upon Mm such benefits as 
would be satisfactory, upon the condition tliat tie 
would engage to cease in Ms opposition to the 
measures of government, and that it was the advice 
of Governor Gage to him not to incur the further 
displeasure of Ms Majesty ; that Ms conduct had 
been such as made him liable to the penalties of 
an act of Henry VIII., by which persons could be 
sent to England for trial, and, by changing his 
course, he would not only receive great personal 
advantages, but would thereby make his peace with 
the king." Adams listened with apparent interest 
to this recital until the messenger had concluded. 
Then rising, lie replied, glowing with indignation : 
" Sir, I trust I have long since made my peace 
with the King of kings. No personal considera- 
tion shall induce me to abandon the righteous 
cause of my country. Tell Governor Gage it is 
the advice of Samuel Adams to him no longer to 
insult the feelings of an exasperated people." 
Toward the end of the winter Gage received 
peremptory orders to arrest Adams and 

Orders to ar- * r J 1-1,1 

rest Adams Hancock, and send them to J&mdand 

and Hancock. s\ r 

for trial. One of the London papers 
gayly observed that in all probability Temple Bar 
" will soon be decorated with some of the patriotic 
noddles of the Boston saints." The provincial 
congress met at Concord on the 22d of March, and 
after its adjournment, on the 15th of April, Adams 
and Hancock stayed a few days at Lexington, at 
the house of their friend, the Eev. Jonas Clark. 
It would doubtless be easier to seize them there 
than in Boston, and, accordingly, on the night of 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 121 

the 18th Gage dispatched a force o 800 troops, 
tinder Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, to march to Lex- 
ington, and, after seizing the patriot leaders, to 
proceed to Concord, and capture or destroy the 
military stores which had for some time been col- 
lecting there. At ten in the evening the troops 
were rowed across Charles river, and proceeded 
by a difficult and unfrequented route through the 
marshes of East Cambridge, until, after four miles, 
they struck into the highroad for Lexington. The 
greatest possible secrecy was observed, and strin- 
gent orders were given that no one should be al- 
lowed' to leave Boston that night. But Warren, 
divined the purpose of the movement, Patll Bevere t a 
and sent out Paul Severe by way of ride - 
Charlestown, and William Dawes by way of Box- 
bury, to give the alarm. At that time there was 
no bridge across Charles river lower than the one 
which now connects Cambridge with Allston, 
Crossing the broad river in a little boat, under the 
very guns of the Somerset man-of-war, and waiting 
on the farther bank until he learned, from a lan- 
tern suspended in the belfry of the North Church, 
which, way the troops had gone, Eevere took horse 
and galloped over the Medford road to Lexington, 
shouting the news at the door of every house that 
lie passed. Eeaching Mr. Clark's a little after 
midnight, he found the house guarded by eight 
minute-men, and the sergeant warned him not to 
make a noise and disturb the inmates. " Noise ! " 
cried Revere. " You '11 soon have noise enough ; 
the regulars are coming ! " Hancock, recognizing 
the voice, threw up the window, and ordered the 



122 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

guard to let Mm In. On learning the news, Han- 
cock's first impulse was to stay and take command 
oi the *militia ; but it was presently agreed that 
there was no good reason for his doing so, and 
shortly before daybreak, in company with Adams, 
he left the Tillage. 

Meanwhile, the troops were marching along the 
main road ; but swift and silent as was their ad* 
vance, frequent alarm-bells and signal-guns, and 
lights twinkling on distant hill-tops, showed but 
too plainly that the secret was out. Colonel Smith 
then sent Major Pitcairn forward with six com- 
panies of light infantry to make all possible haste 
In securing the bridges over Concord river, while 
at the same time he prudently sent back to Boston 
for reinforcements. When Pitcairn reached Lex- 
ington, just as the rising sun was casting long 
shadows across the village green, he found himself 
confronted by some fifty minute-men under com- 
mand of Captain John Parker, grandfather of 
Theodore Parker, a hardy veteran, who, fifteen 
years before, had climbed the heights of 
Abraham by the side of Wolfe. "Don't 



ker ; " but if they want a war, it may as well begin 
here." " Disperse, ye Tillains ! " shouted Pitcairn. 
"Damn you, why don't you disperse?" And as 
they stood motionless he gave the order to fire. As 
the soldiers hesitated to obey, he discharged his 
own pistol and repeated the order, whereupon a 
deadly volley slew eight of the minute-men and 
wounded ten. At this moment the head of Smith's 
own column seemed to hare come into sight, far 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 128 

down the road. The minute-men Had began to 
return the fire, when Parker, seeing the folly of 
resistance, ordered them to retire. While this was 
going on, Adams and Hancock were walking across 
the fields toward "Woburn ; and as the crackle of 
distant musketry reached their ears, the eager 
Adams his soul aglow with the prophecy of the 
coming deliverance of his country exclaimed, 
" Oh, what a glorious morning is this ! " From 
Woburn the two friends went on their way to Phila- 
delphia, where the second Continental Congress 
was about to assemble. 

Some precious minutes had been lost by the 
British at Lexington, and it soon became clear 
that the day was to be one in which minutes could 
ill be spared. By the time they reached Concord, 
about seven o'clock, the greater part of the stores 
had been effectually hidden, and minute-men were 
rapidly gathering from all quarters. After post- 
ing small forces to guard the bridges, the troops 
set fire to the court-house, cut down the liberty- 
pole, disabled a few cannon, staved in a few bar- 
rels of flour, and hunted unsuccessfully for arms 
and ammunition, until an unexpected incident put 
a stop to their proceedings. When the 

~ * . * , i , The troops re- 

force or minute-men, watching events pulsed at con- 
from the hill beyond the river, had be- 
come increased to more than 400, they suddenly 
advanced upon the North Bridge, which was held 
by 200 regulars. After receiving and returning 
the British fire, the militia, led by Major But- 
trick, charged across the narrow bridge, overcame 
the regulars through weight and numbers, and 



124 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

drove them "back Into the village. They did not 
follow up the attack, but rested on their arms, 
wondering, perhaps, at what they had already ac- 
complished, while their numbers were from mo- 
ment to moment increased by the minute-men from 
neighbouring villages. A little before noon, though 
none of the objects of the expedition had been ac- 
complished, Colonel Smith began to realize the 
danger of his position, and started on his retreat 
to Boston. His men were in no mood for fight. 
They had marched eighteen miles, and had eaten 
little or nothing for fourteen hours. But now, 
while companies of militia hovered upon both their 
flanks, every clump of trees and every bit of rising 
ground by the roadside gave shelter to hostile yeo- 
men, whose aim was true and deadly. Straggling 
combats ensued from time to time, and the retreat- 
ing British left nothing undone which brave men 
Retreating could do ; but the incessant, galling fire 
STed P by e Lord at length threw them into hopeless con- 
ercy * fusion. Leaving their wounded scattered 

along the road, they had already passed by the vil- 
lage green of Lexington in disorderly flight, when 
they were saved by Lord Percy, who had marched 
out through Brookline and Cambridge to their 
assistance, with 1,200 men and two field -pieces. 
[Forming his men in a hollow square, Percy in- 
closed the fugitives, who, in dire exhaustion, threw 
themselves upon the ground, " their tongues 
hanging out of their mouths," says Colonel Sted- 
man, " like those of dogs after a chase." Many 
had thrown away their muskets, and Pitcairn had 
lost his horse, with the elegant pistols which fired 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 125 

the first shots of the War of Independence, and 
which may be seen to-day, along with other tro- 
phies, in the town library of Lexington, 

Percy's timely arrival checked the pursuit for 
an hour, and gave the starved and weary men a 
chance for food and rest. A few houses were pil- 
laged and set on fire, but at three o'clock General 
Heath and Dr. "Warren arrived on the scene and 
took command of the militia, and the irregular 
fight was renewed. "When Percy reached Me- 
notomy (now Arlington), seven miles from. Boston, 
his passage was disputed by a fresh force of militia, 
while pursuers pressed hard on his rear, Retreat con- 
and it was only after an obstinate fight S&SH, 
that he succeeded in forcing his way. Cliarlestown - 
The roadside now fairly swarmed with marksmen, 
insomuch that, as one of the British officers ob- 
served, " they seemed to have dropped from the 
clouds." It became impossible to keep order or 
to carry away the wounded ; and when, at sunset, 
the troops entered Charlestown, under the welcome 
shelter of the fleet, it was upon the full run. They 
were not a moment too soon, for Colonel Picker- 
ing, with 700 Essex militia, on the way to inter- 
cept them, had already reached "Winter Hill ; and 
had their road been blocked by tlis fresh force 
they must in all probability have surrendered. 

On this eventful day the British lost 273 of 
their number, while the Americans lost 93. The 
expedition, had been a failure, the whole British 
force had barely escaped capture, and it had been 
shown that the people could not be frightened into 
submission. It had been shown, too, how efficient 



126 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

the town system of organized militia might prove 
on a sudden emergency. The most interesting 
feature of the day is the rapidity and 
y* the skill with which the different bodies of 



British be- . , . i 

sieged in minute-men, marching trom long dis- 
tances, were massed at those points on 
the road where they might most effectually impede 
the British retreat. The Danvers company marched 
sixteen miles in four hours to strike Lord Percy at 
Menotomy. The list of killed and wounded shows 
that contingents from at least twenty-three towns 
had joined in the fight before sundown. But 
though the pursuit was then ended, these men did 
not return to their homes, but hour by hour their 
numbers increased. At noon of that day the 
alarm had reached Worcester. Early next morn- 
ing, Israel Putnam was ploughing a field at Pom- 
fret, in Connecticut, when the news arrived. 
Leaving orders for the militia companies to follow, 
he jumped on his horse, and, riding a hundred 
miles in eighteen hours, arrived in Cambridge on 
the morning of the 21st, just in time to meet John. 
Stark with the first company from New Hamp- 
shire. At midday of the 20th the college green 
at New Haven swarmed with eager students and 
citizens, and Captain Benedict Arnold, gathering 
sixty volunteers from among them, placed himself 
at their head and marched for Cambridge, pick- 
ing up recruits and allies at all the villages on 
the way. And thus, from every hill and valley in 
"New England, on they came, till, by Saturday 
night, Gage found himself besieged in Boston by 
a rustic army of 16,000 men. 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 127 

When the news of this affair reached England, 
five weeks later, it was received at first with in- 
credulity, then with astonishment and regret,, 
Slight as the contest had been, it remained unde- 
niable that British troops had been defeated by 
what in England was regarded as a crowd of 
" peasants ; " and it was felt besides that the 
chances for conciliation had now been seriously 
diminished. Burke said that now that the Ameri- 
cans had once gone so far as this, they could hardly 
help going farther ; and in spite of the condemna- 
tion that had been lavished upon Gage for his in- 
activity, many people were now inclined to find 
fault with him for having precipitated Eflectaofthe 
a conflict just at the time when it was news * 
hoped that, with the aid of the New York loyalists, 
some sort of accommodation might be effected. 
There is no doubt that the news from Lexington 
thoroughly disconcerted the loyalists of New York 
for the moment, and greatly strengthened the pop- 
ular party there. In a manifesto addressed to the 
city of London, the New York committee of corre- 
spondence deplored the conduct of Gage as rash 
and violent, and declared that all the horrors of 
civil war would never bring the Americans to sub- 
mit to the unjust acts of Parliament. When Han- 
cock and Adams arrived, on their way to tie Con- 
gress, they were escorted through the city with 
triumphal honours. In Pennsylvania steps were 
immediately taken for the enlistment and training 
of a colonial militia, and every colony to the south 
of it followed the example. The Scotch -Irish 
patriots of Mecklenburg county, in North Caro 



128 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

lina, ventured npon a measure more decided tlian 
any that had yet been taken In any part of the 
Mecklenburg country. On May 31st, the county 
soives, y May3i, committee of Mecklenburg affirmed that 
lil5 ' the joint address of the two Houses of 

Parliament to the king, in February, had virtually 
"annulled and vacated all civil and military com- 
missions granted by the Crown, and suspended the 
constitutions of the colonies ; " and that conse- 
quently " the provincial congress of each province, 
tinder the direction of the great Continental Con- 
gress, is invested with all the legislative and exec- 
utive powers within their respective provinces, and 
that no other legislative or executive power does or 
can exist at this time in any of these colonies." In 
accordance with this state of things, rules were 
adopted " for the choice of county officers, to exer- 
cise authority by virtue of this choice and inde- 
pendently of the British Crown, until Parliament 
should resign its arbitrary pretensions." These 
bold resolves were entrusted to the North Carolina 
delegates to the Continental Congress, but were 
not formally brought before that body, as the dele- 
gates thought it best to wait for a while longer the 
course of events. 

Some twenty years later they gave rise to the 
Legend of the legend of the Mecklenburg- Declaration 

Mecklenburg , T , , ._, & , 

"Declaration or Independence, ihe early writers of 

of Indepen- TT *x i o * 

deuce." United fetates history passed over the 
proceedings of May 31st in silence, and presently 
the North Carolina patriots tried to supply an ac- 
count of them from memory. Their traditional 
account was not published until 1819, when it was 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGEESS. 129 

found to contain a spurious document, giving the 
substance of some of the foregoing resolves, dec- 
orated with phrases borrowed from the great Dec- 
laration of Independence of 1776. This document 
purported to have been drawn up and signed at 
a county meeting on the 20th of May, A fierce 
controversy sprang up over the genuineness of the 
document, which was promptly called in question. 
For a long time many people believed in it, and 
were inclined to charge Jefferson with having 
plagiarized from it in writing the Declaration of 
Independence. But a minute investigation of all 
the newspapers of May, 1775, lias shown that no 
such meeting was held on the 20th, and that no 
such document was made public. The story of the 
Mecklenburg Declaration is simply a legend based 
upon the distorted recollection of the real proceed- 
ings of May 31st. 

Meanwhile, in New England, the warlike feeling 
had become too strong to be contented merely with 
defensive measures. No sooner had Benedict Ar- 
nold reached Cambridge than he suggested to Dr. 
Warren that an expedition ought to be sent with- 
out delay to capture Ticonderoga and Crown Point. 
These fortresses commanded the northern ap- 
proaches to the Hudson river, the strategic centre 
of the whole country, and would be of supreme im- 
portance either in preparing an invasion of Canada 
or in warding off an invasion of New York. Be- 
sides this, they contained a vast quan- Benedict 

' J . ^ Arnold and 

tity of military stores, ot which the Ethan Alien. 
newly gathered army stood in sore need. The idea 
found favour at once. Arnold received a colonel's 



180 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

commission from the Massachusetts Congress, and 
was instructed to raise 400 men among the Berk- 
shire Hills, capture the fortresses, and superintend 
the transfer of part of their armament to Cam- 
bridge. When Arnold reached the wild hillsides 
of the Hoosac range, he found that he had a rival 
in the enterprise. The capture of Ticonderoga liad 
also been secretly planned in Connecticut, and was 
entrusted to Ethan Allen, the eccentric but saga- 
cious author of that now-forgotten deistical book, 
44 The Oracles of Keason." Allen was a leading 
spirit among the " Green Mountain Boys," an as- 
sociation of Vermont settlers formed for the pur- 
pose of resisting the jurisdiction of New York, and 
his personal popularity was great. On the 9th of 
May Arnold overtook Allen and his men on their 
march toward Lake Champlain, and claimed the 
command of the expedition on the strength of his 
commission from Massachusetts ; but the Green 
Mountain Boys were acting partly on their own 
account, partly under the direction of Connecticut. 
They cared nothing for the authority of Massachu- 
setts, and knew nothing of Arnold ; they had come 
out to fight under their own trusted leader. But 
few of Arnold's own men had as yet assembled, 
and his commission could not give him command 
of Vermonters, so he joined the expedition as a 
volunteer. On reaching the lake that night, they 
found there were not nearly enough row-boats to 
convey the men across. But delay was not to be 
thought of. The garrison must not be put on its 
guard. Accordingly, with only eighty-three men, 
Allen and Arnold crossed the lake at daybreak of 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 181 

the 10th, and entered Tlconderoga side by side. 
The little garrison, less than half as many in num- 
ber, as it turned out, was completely surprised, and 
the stronghold was taken without a blow. As the 
commandant jumped out of bed, half awake, he 
confusedly inquired of Allen by whose capture of 
authority he was acting. " In the name aidcro^? a 
of the Great Jehovah and the Conti- ml*** 1 * 
nental Congress ! "roared the bellicose philosopher, 
and the commandant, seeing the fort already taken, 
was fain to acquiesce. At the same time Crown 
Point surrendered to another famous Green Moun- 
tain Boy, Seth Warner, and thus more than two 
hundred cannon, with a large supply of powder and 
ball, were obtained for the New England army. A 
few days later, as some of Arnold's own men ar- 
rived from Berkshire, he sailed down Lake Cham- 
plain, and captured St. John's with its garrison ; 
but the British recovered It in the course of the 
summer, and planted such a force there that in the 
autumn we shall see it able to sustain a siege of 
fifty days. 

Neither Connecticut nor Massachusetts had any 
authority over these posts save through right o 
conquest. As it was Connecticut that had set 
Allen's expedition on foot, Massachusetts yielded 
the point as to the disposal of the fortresses and 
their garrisons. Dr. Warren urged the Connec- 
ticut government to appoint Arnold to the com- 
mand, so that bis commission might be held of 
both colonies ; but Connecticut preferred to retain 
Alien, and in July Arnold returned to Cambridge 
to mature his remarkable plan for invading Can- 



182 THE AMEEICAN EEVOLUTXON. 

ada through the trackless wilderness of Maine. 
His slight disagreement with Allen bore evil fruit. 
As is often the case in such affairs, the men were 
more zealous than their commanders ; there were 
those who denounced Arnold as an interloper, and 
he was destined to hear from them again and 

On the same day on which Ticonderoga sur- 
rendered, the Continental Congress met at Phil- 
adelphia, The Adamses and the Liv- 
ing of the con- ins'stons, Jay, Henry, Washington, and 

tinental Con- .r , ^ , , . . 

gress, May 10, Lee were tnere, as also Jbrankim, just 
back from his long service in England. 
Of all the number, John Adams and Franklin 
had now, probably, come to agree with Samuel 
Adams that a political separation from Great Brit- 
ain was inevitable ; but all were fully agreed that 
any consideration of such a question was at present 
premature and uncalled for. The Congress was 
a body which wielded no technical legal author- 
ity ; it was but a group of committees, assembled 
for the purpose of advising with each other regard- 
ing the public weal. Yet something very like a 
state of war existed in a part of the country, 
under conditions which intimately concerned the 
whole, and in the absence of any formally con- 
stituted government something must be done to 
provide for such a crisis. The spirit of the as- 
sembly was well shown in its choice of a president. 
Peyton Randolph being called back to Virginia to 
preside over the colonial assembly, Thomas Jeffer- 
son was sent to the Congress in his stead ; and it 
also became necessary for Congress to choose a 



TES CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 138 

president to succeed him. The proscribed John 
Hancock was at once chosen, and Benjamin Harri- 
son, in conducting him to the chair, said, " We 
will show Great Britain how much we value her 
proscriptions." To the garrisoning of Ticonderoga 
and Crown Point by Connecticut, the Congress 
consented only after much hesitation, since the 
capture of these posts had been an act of offensive 
warfare. But without any serious opposition, in 
the name of the " United Colonies," the Congress 
adopted the army of New England men besieging 
Boston as the " Continental Army," and proceeded 
to appoint a commander-in-chief to direct its opera- 
tions. Practically, this was the most important 
step taken in the whole course of the War of Inde- 
pendence, and the wisdom shown in the appoint- 
ment was consummate. Nothing less, indeed, than 
the whole issue of the struggle, for ultimate defeat 
or for ultimate victory, turned upon the 

, . , , . . -r^ Appointment 

selection to be made at this crisis. 1! or of Washington 

, . 11 i * T , to command 

nothing can be clearer than that m any the continen- 
other hands than those of George Wash- 
ington the military result of the war must have 
been speedily disastrous to the Americans. In ap- 
pointing a Virginian to the command of a New 
England army, the Congress showed rare wisdom. 
It would well have accorded with local prejudices 
had a New England general been appointed. 
John Hancock greatly desired the appointment, 
and seems to have been chagrined at not receiving 
it. But it was wisely decided that the common 
interest of all Americans could in no way be more 
thoroughly engaged in the war than by putting 



134 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

the New England army in charge of a general 
who represented in his own person the greatest of 
the Southern colonies. Washington was now com- 
mander of the local militia of Virginia, and sat in 
Congress in his colonel's uniform. His services 
in saving the remnant of Braddock's ill-fated 
army, and afterwards in the capture of Fort 
Duquesne, had won for him a military reputation 
greater than that of any other American. Besides 
this, there was that which, from his early youth, 
had made it seem right to entrust him with com- 
missions of extraordinary importance. Nothing 
in Washington's whole career is more remarkable 
than the fact that when a mere boy of twenty-one 
he should have been selected by the governor of 
Virginia to take charge of that most delicate and 
dangerous diplomatic mission to the Indian chiefs 
and the French commander at Venango. Con- 
summate knowledge of human nature as well as of 
wood-craft, a courage that no threats could daunt 
and a clear intelligence that no treachery could 
hoodwink, were the qualities absolutely demanded 
by such an undertaking; yet the young man ac- 
quitted himself of his perilous task not merely 
with credit, but with splendour. As regards book- 
lore, his education had been but meagre, yet he 
possessed in the very highest degree the rare fac- 
ulty of always discerning the essential facts in 
every case, and interpreting them correctly. In 
the Continental Congress there sat many who were 
superior to him in learning and eloquence ; but 
" if," said Patrick Henry, " you speak of solid in- 
formation and sound judgment, Colonel Washing- 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 135 

ton Is unquestionably tlie greatest man upon that 
floor." Thus did that wonderful balance of mind 
so great that in his whole career it would be 
hard to point out a single mistake already im- 
press Hs ablest contemporaries. Hand in hand 
with this rare soundness of judgment there went 
a completeness of moral self-control, which was 
all the more impressive inasmuch as Washington's 
was by no means a tame or commonplace nature, 
such as ordinary power of will would suffice to 
guide. He was a man of intense and fiery pas- 
sions. His anger, when once aroused, had in it 
something so terrible that strong men were cowed 
by it like frightened children. This prodigious 
animal nature was habitually curbed by a will of 
iron, and held in the service of a sweet and tender 
soul, into which no mean or unworthy thought 
had ever entered. "Whole-souled devotion to pub- 
lic duty, an incorruptible integrity which no ap- 
peal to ambition or vanity could for a moment 
solicit, these were attributes of Washington, as 
well marked as his clearness of mind and his 
strength of purpose. And it was in no unworthy 
temple that Nature had enshrined this great spirit. 
His lofty stature (exceeding six feet), his grave 
and handsome face, his noble bearing and courtly 
grace of manner, all proclaimed in Washington a 
king of men. 

The choice of Washington for commander-in- 
chief was suggested and strongly urged by John 
Adams, and when, on the 15th of June, the nomi- 
nation was formally made by Thomas Johnson of 
Maryland, it was unanimously confirmed. Then 



136 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

Washington, rising, said with great earnestness : 
" Since the Congress desire, I will enter upon the 
momentous duty, and exert every power I possess 
la their service, and for the support of the glorious 
cause. But I beg it may be remembered by every 
gentleman in the room that I this day declare, 
with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself 
equal to the command I am honoured with." He 
refused to take any pay for his services, but said 
he would keep an accurate account of his personal 
expenses, which Congress might reimburse, should 
it see fit, after the close of the war. 

While these things were going on at Philadel- 
phia, the army of New England 'men about Boston 
siege of "BOS- was busily pressing, to the best of its 
ton - limited ability, the siege of that town. 

The army extended in a great semicircle of sixteen 
miles, averaging about a thousand men to the 
mile, all the way from Jamaica Plain to Charles- 
town Neck. The headquarters were at Cambridge, 
where some of the university buildings were used 
for barracks, and the chief command had been 
entrusted to General Artemas Ward, under the 
direction of the committee of safety. Dr. Warren 
had succeeded Hancock as president of the provin- 
cial congress, which was in session at Watertown. 
The army was excellent in spirit, but poorly 
equipped and extremely deficient in discipline. 
Its military object was to compel the British troops 
to evacuate Boston and take to their ships ; for as 
there was no American fleet, anything like the de- 
struction or capture of the British force was mani- 
festly impossible. The only way in which Boston 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 137 

could be made untenable for the British was by 
seizing and fortifying some of the neighbouring 
hills which commanded the town, of which the 
most important were those ia Charlestown on the 
north and in Dorchester on the southeast. To 
secure these hills was indispensable to Gage, if he 
was to keep his foothold in Boston ; and as soon 
as Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne arrived, on the 
25th of May, with reinforcements which raised the 
British force to 10,000 men, a plan was laid for 
extending the lines so as to cover both Charles- 
town and Dorchester. Feeling now confident of 
victory, Gage issued a proclamation on Gage , s proclar 
June 12th, offering free pardon to all mation - 
rebels who should lay down their arms and return 
to their allegiance, saving only those ringleaders^ 
John Hancock and Samuel Adams, whose crimes 
had been " too flagitious to be condoned." At the 
same time, all who should be taken in arms were 
threatened with the gallows. In reply to this 
manifesto, the committee of safety, having re- 
ceived intelligence of Gage's scheme, ordered out 
a force of 1,200 men, to forestall the governor, and 
take possession of Bunker Hill in Charlestown. 
At sunset of the 16th this brigade was paraded on 
Cambridge Common, and after prayer had been 
offered by Dr. Langdon, president of the univer- 
sity, they set out on their enterprise, under com- 
mand of Colonel Prescott of Pepperell, a veteran 
of the French war, grandfather of one of the most 
eminent of American historians. On reaching 

o 

the grounds, a consultation was held, and it was 
decided, in accordance with the general purpose, 



188 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION . 

if not in strict conformity to the letter of the or- 
der, to push on farther and fortify the eminence 
known as Breed's Hill, which was connected by a 
ridge with Bunker Hill, and might be 

Americans oc- , j* ,1 i TJ. 

cupy Bunker regarded as part or tiie same locality. 
The position of Breed's Hill was admi- 
rably fitted for annoying the town and the ships in 
the harbour, and it was believed that, should the 
Americans succeed in planting batteries there, the 
British would be obliged to retire from Boston, 
There can be little doubt, however, that in thus 
departing from the strict letter of his orders Pres- 
cott made a mistake, which might have proved 
fatal, had not the enemy blundered still more seri- 
ously. The advanced position on Breed's Hill 
was not only exposed to attacks in the rear from 
an enemy who commanded the water, but the line 
of retreat was ill secured, and, by seizing upon 
Charlestown Neck, it would have been easy for the 
British, with little or no loss, to have compelled 
Prescott to surrender. From such a disaster the 
Americans were saved by the stupid contempl 
which the enemy felt for them. 

Eeaching Breed's Hill about midnight, Colonel 
Prescott's men began throwing up intrenchrnents. 
At daybreak they were discovered by the sailors 
in the harbour, and a lively cannonade was kept up 
through the forenoon by the enemy's ships; but 
it produced little effect, and the strength of the 
American works increased visibly hour by hour. 
It was a beautiful summer day, bathed in bright- 
est sunshine, and through the clear dry air every 
movement of the spadesmen on the hill-top and 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 139 

the sailors on their decks could be distinctly seen 
Erom a great distance. The roar of the cannon 
had called out everybody, far and near, to see 
what was going on, and the windows and house- 
tops in Boston were crowded with anxious specta- 
tors. During the night General Put- 

i -i , , Arrival of 

nam had come upon the scene, and Putnam, 

, , . . r _ ' Stark, and 

turned nis attention to tortirying the War ^ n Joae 
crest of Bunker Hill, in order to secure 
the line of retreat across Charlestown Neck. In 
the course of the forenoon Colonel Stark arrived 
with reinforcements, which were posted behind 
the rail fence on the extreme left, to ward off any 
attempt of the British to turn their flank by a di- 
rect attack. At the same time, Dr. Warren, now 
chief executive officer of Massachusetts, and just 
appointed major-general, hastened to the battle- 
field ; replying to the prudent and affectionate 
remonstrance of his friend Elbridge Gerry, " Dulce 
et decorum est pro patria mori." Arriving at the 
redoubt, he refused the command expressly ten- 
dered him, saying that he should be only too glad 
to serve as volunteer aid, and learn his first lesson 
under so well tried a soldier as Prescott. This 
modest heroism was typical of that memorable day, 
to the events of which one may well apply the 
Frenchman's dictum, " C'est magnifique, mais ce 
u'est pas la guerre ! " A glorious day it was in 
history, but characterized, on both the British and 
the American sides, by heroism rather than by 
military skill or prudence. 

During the forenoon Gage was earnestly dis- 
cussing with the three new generals the best means 



140 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

of ousting the Americans from their position on 
Breed's Hill. There was one sure and obvious 
method, to go around by sea and take posses- 
sion of Charlestown Neck, thereby cutting off the 
Americans from the mainland and starving them* 
out. But it was thought that time was too pre- 
cious to admit of so slow a method. Should the 
Americans succeed, in the course of the afternoon, 
in planting a battery of siege guns 011 Breed's 
Hill, the British position in Boston would be en- 
dangered. A direct assault was pre- 

Gage decides o t - 1 

Sui7 anas " i errec ^ as lik e ty to be more speedily ef- 
fective. It was unanimously agreed 
that these " peasants " could not withstand the 
charge of 3,000 veteran soldiers, and it was gravely 
doubted if they would stay and fight at all. Gage 
accordingly watched the proceedings, buoyant 
with hope. In a few hours the disgrace of Lex- 
ington would be wiped out, and this wicked rebel- 
lion would be ended. At noonday the troops be- 
gan crossing the river in boats, and at three o'clock 
they prepared to storm the intrench ments. They 
advanced in two parties. General Howe toward 
the rail-fence, and General Pigott toward the re- 
doubt, and the same fate awaited both. The 
Americans reserved fire until the enemy had come 
within fifty yards, when all at once they poured 
forth such a deadly volley that the whole front 
rank of the British was mowed as if by the sud- 
First assault den sweep of a scythe. For a few mm- 
repulsed. ^^ ^ e g a ]j an ve t e rans held their 

ground and returned the fire ; but presently an 
indescribable shudder ran through the line, and 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 141 

they gave way and retreated down tlie hillside in 
disorder, while the Americans raised an exultant 
shout, and were with difficulty restrained by their 
officers from leaping over the breastworks and 
pursuing. 

A pause now ensued, during which the village 
of Charlestown was set on fire hy shells from the 
fleet, and soon its four hundred wooden houses 
were in a roaring blaze, while charred timbers 
strewed the lawns and flower-beds, and the sky was 
blackened with huge clouds of smoke. If the pur- 
pose of this wholesale destruction of property was, 
as some have thought, to screen the sec- Second ^^t 
ond British advance, the object was not re P ulse<L 
attained, for a light breeze drove the smoke the 
wrong way. As the bright red coats, such excel- 
lent targets for trained marksmen, were seen the 
second time coming up the slope, the Americans, 
now cool and confident, withheld their fire until 
the distance was less than thirty yards. Then, 
with a quick succession of murderous discharges, 
such havoc was wrought in the British lines as 
soon to prove unendurable. After a short but ob- 
stinate struggle the lines were broken, and the gal- 
lant troops retreated hastily, leaving the hillside 
covered with their dead and wounded. All this 
time the Americans, in their sheltered position, 
had suffered but little. 

So long a time now elapsed that many persons 
began to doubt if the British would renew the as- 
sault. Had the organization of the American 
army been better, such reinforcements of men and 
ammunition might by this time have arrived from 



142 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Cambridge that any further attack upon the Mil 
would be sure to prove fruitless. But all was con- 
fusion at headquarters. General Ward was ill 
furnished with staff officers, and wrong information 
was brought, while orders were misunderstood. 
And besides, in his ignorance of the extent of 
Gage's plans, General Ward was nervously afraid 
of weakening his centre at Cambridge. Three 
tegiments were sent over too late to be of any use, 
and meanwhile Prescott, to his dismay, 
powder gives found that his stock of powder was 
nearly exhausted. While he was mak- 
ing ready for a hand-to-hand fight, the British offi- 
cers were holding a council of war, and many de- 
clared that to renew the attack would be simply 
useless butchery. On the other hand, General 
Howe observed, " To be forced to give up Boston 
would, gentlemen, be very disagreeable to us all." 
The case was not really so desperate as this, for 
the alternative of an attack upon Charlestown 
Neck still remained open, and every consideration 
of sound generalship now prescribed that it should 
be tried. But Howe could not bear to acknow- 
ledge the defeat of his attempts to storm, and ac- 
sault cordingly, at five o'clock, with genuine 
f tlie be British persistency, a third attack was 
the MIL ordered. For a moment the advancing 
columns were again shaken by the American fire, 
but the last cartridges were soon spent, and by 
resolute bayonet charges and irregular volleys that 
could not be returned the Americans were slowly 
driven from their works and forced to retreat over 
Charlestown Neck, while the whole disputed 



THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 145 

ground, including the summit of Bunker Hill, 
passed into the hands of the British. 

In this battle, in which not more than one hour 
was spent in actual fighting, the British loss in 
killed and wounded was 1,054, or more than one 
third of the whole force engaged, including an un- 
usually large proportion of officers. The Ameri- 
can loss, mainly incurred at the rail-fence and dur- 
ing the final hand-to-hand struggle at 
the redoubt, was 449, probably about American 
one fourth of the whole force engaged. 
On the British side, one company of grenadiers 
came out of the battle with only five of its number 
left unhurt. Every officer on General Howe's 
staff was cut down, and only one survived his 
wounds. The gallant Pitcairn, who had fired the 
first shot of the war, fell while entering the re- 
doubt, and a few moments later the Americans met 
with an irreparable loss in the death of General 
Warren, who was shot in the forehead as he lin- 
gered with rash obstinacy on the scene, loath to 
join in the inevitable retreat. Another volunteer 
aid, not less illustrious than Warren, fought on 
Bunker Hill that day, and came away scatheless. 
Since the brutal beating which he had received at 
the coffee-house nearly six years before, the great 
intellect of James Otis had suffered well-nigh total 
wreck. He was living, harmlessly insane, at the 
house of his sister, Mercy Warren, at Watertown, 
when he witnessed the excitement and listened to 
the rumour of battle on the morning of the 17th of 
June. With touching eagerness to strike a blow 
for the cause in which he had already suffered so 



144 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

dreadful a martyrdom, Otis stole away from home, 
borrowed a musket at some roadside farmhouse, 
and hastened to the battlefield, where he fought 
manfully, and after all was over made his way 
home, weary and faint, a little before midnight. 

Though small in its dimensions, if compared 
with great European battles, or with the giant con- 

^ OUr OWI1 



Excessive 

slaughter; a t B im ker Hill is memorable and in- 

significance of 

the battle, structive, even from a purely military 
point of view. Considering the numbers engaged 
and the short duration of the fight, the destruction 
of life was enormous. Of all the hardest-fought 
fields of modern times, there have been very few 
indeed in which the number of killed and wounded 
has exceeded one fourth of the whole force en- 
gaged. In its bloodiness and in the physical con- 
ditions of the struggle, the battle of Bunker Hill 
resembles in miniature the tremendous battles of 
Fredericksburg and Cold Harbor. To ascend a 
rising ground and storm well-manned intrench- 
meats has in all ages been a difficult task ; at the 
present day, with the range and precision of our 
modern weapons, it has come to be almost impossi- 
ble. It has become a maxim of modern warfare 
that only the most extraordinary necessity can jus- 
tify a commander in resorting to so desperate a 
measure. He must manoeuvre against such posi- 
tions, cut them off by the rear, or deprive them of 
their value by some flanking march ; but he irnist 
not, save as a forlorn hope, waste precious human. 
lives in an effort to storm them that is almost sure 
to prove fruitless. For our means of destroying 



TJEO? CONTINENTAL CONGRESS. 145 

life have become so powerful and so accurate that, 
when skilfully wielded from commanding posi 
tions, no human gallantry can hope to withstand 
them. As civilization advances, warfare becomes 
less and less a question of mere personal bravery, 
and more and more a question of the application 
of resistless physical forces at the proper points ; 
that is to say, it becomes more and more a purely 
scientific problem of dynamics. Now at Bunker 
Hill, though the Americans had not our modern 
weapons of precision, yet a similar effect was 
wrought by the remarkable accuracy of their aim, 
due to the fact that they were all trained marks- 
men, who waited coolly till they could fire at short 
range, and then wasted no shots in random firing. 
Most of the British soldiers who fell in the two 
disastrous charges of that day were doubtless 
picked off as partridges are picked off by old 
sportsmen, and thus is explained the unprecedented 
slaughter of officers. Probably nothing quite like 
this had yet been seen in the history of war, though 
the principle had been similar in those wonderful 
trials of the long-bow in such mediaeval battles as 
Cr^cy and Dupplin Moor. Against such odds even 
British pluck and endurance could not possibly pre- 
vail. Under these circumstances, had the Ameri- 
cans been properly supplied with powder, Howe 
could no more have taken Bunker Hill by storm 
than Burnside could take the heights of Freder- 
icksburg* 

The moral effect of the battle of Bunker Hill, 
both in America and Europe, was remarkable. It 
was for the British a decided and important vie- 



146 TEE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

tory, inasmuch as they not only gained the ground 
for which the battle was fought, but by so doing 
its moral they succeeded in keeping their hold 
efect * ' upon Boston for nine months longer. 
Nevertheless, the moral advantage was felt to be 
entirely on the side of the Americans. It was they 
who were elated by the day's work, while it was 
the British who were dispirited. The belief that 
Americans could not fight was that day dispelled 
forever. British officers who remembered Fonte- 
noy and Minden declared that the firing at Bunker 
Hill was the hottest they had ever known, a.id, 
with an exaggeration which was pardonable as a 
reaction from their former ill-judged contempt, it 
was asserted that the regulars of France were less 
formidable foes than the militia of New England. 
It was keenly felt that if a conquest of a single 
strategic position had encountered such stubborn 
resistance, the task of subjugating the United Col- 
onies was likely to prove a hard one. " I wish we 
could sell them another hill at the same price/' 
said General Greene. Vergennes, the French min- 
ister of foreign affairs, exclaimed that with two 
more such victories England would have no army 
left in America. Washington said there could 
now be no doubt that the liberties of the people 
were secure. While Franklin, taking extreme 
ground, declared that England liad lost lier colo- 
nies forever. 



CHAPTEE IV. 
INDEPENDENCE. 

ON the 2d of July, 1775, after a journey of 
eleven days, General WasHngton arrived in Bos- 
ton from Philadelphia, and on the following day, 
under the shade of the great elm-tree _ , . . 

t Wasnmgton 

which still stands hard "by Cambridge Jg^Hj a e 
Common, he took command of the Con- 
tinental army, which as yet was composed entirely 
of New Englanders. Of the 16,000 men engaged 
in the siege of Boston, Massachusetts furnished 
11,500, Connecticut 2,300, New Hampshire 1,200, 
Khode Island 1,000. These contingents were 
arrayed under their local commanders, and under 
the local flags of their respective commonwealths, 
though Artemas Ward of Massachusetts had by 
courtesy exercised the chief command until the ar- 
rival of Washington. During the month of July, 
Congress gave a more continental complexion to 
the army by sending a reinforcement of 3,000 men 
from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, in- 
cluding the famous Daniel Morgan, with his sturdy 
band of sharpshooters, each man of whom, it was 
said, while marching at double-quick, could cleave 
with his rifle-ball a squirrel at a distance of three 
hundred yards. The summer of 1775 thus brought 
together in Cambridge many officers whose names 



148 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, 

were soon to become household words throughout 
the length and breadth of the land, and a moment 
may be fitly spent in introducing them before we 
proceed with the narrative of events. 

Daniel Morgan, who had just arrived from Vir- 
ginia with his riflemen, was a native of New Jersey, 
Daniel of Welsh descent. Moving to Virginia 

Morgan. ^ ^ ear jy & ^ J^ | ]a( J won a g rea t 

reputation for bravery and readiness of resource 
in the wild campaigns of the Seven Years' War. 
He was a man of gigantic stature and strength, 
and incredible powers of endurance. In his youth, 
it is said, he had received five hundred lashes by 
order of a tyrannical British officer, and had come 
away alive and defiant. On another occasion, in a 
fierce woodland fight with the Indians, in which 
nearly all his comrades were slain, Morgan was 
shot through the neck by a musket-ball. Almost 
fainting from the wound, which he believed to be 
fatal, Morgan was resolved, nevertheless, not to leave 
his scalp in the hands of a dirty Indian ; and fall- 
ing forward, with his arms tightly clasped about 
the neck of his stalwart horse, though mists were 
gathering before his eyes, he spurred away through 
the forest paths, until his foremost Indian pursuer, 
unable to come up with him, hurled his tomahawk 
after him with a yell of baffled rage, and gave up 
the chase. With this unconquerable tenacity, Mor- 
gan was a man of gentle and unselfish nature 5 a 
genuine diamond, though a rough one ; uneducated, 
but clear and strong in intelligence and faithful in 
every fibre. At Cambridge began his long com- 
radeship with a very different character, Benedict 



INDEPENDENCE. 149 

Arnold, a young man of romantic and generous Im- 
pulses, and for personal bravery unsur- Benedict 
passed, but vain and self-seeking, and Arnold * 
lacking in moral robustness ; in some respects a 
more polished man than Morgan, but of a nature 
at once coarser and weaker. We shall see these 
two men associated in some of the most brilliant 
achievements of the war ; and we shall see them 
persecuted and insulted by political enemies, until 
the weaker nature sinks and is ruined, while the 
stronger endures to the end. 

Along with Morgan and Arnold there might 
have been seen on Cambridge Common a man who 
was destined to play no less conspicuous a part in 
the great campaign which was to end in the 
first decisive overthrow of the British. For native 
shrewdness, rough simplicity .> and daunt- 
less courage, John Stark was much like 
Morgan. What the one name was in the great 
woods of the Virginia frontier, that was the other 
among the rugged hills of northern New England, 
a symbol of patriotism and a guarantee of vic- 
tory. Great as was Stark' s personal following in 
New Hampshire, he had not, however, the chief 
command of the troops of that colony. The com- 
mander of the JSTew Hampshire contin- 

- 1 ,.,i John Sullivan* 

gent was John Sullivan, a wealthy law- 
yer of Durham, who had sat in the first Conti- 
nental Congress. Sullivan was a gentleman of 
wide culture and fair ability as a statesman. As 
a general, he was brave, intelligent, and faithful, 
but in no wise brilliant. Closely associated with 
Sullivan for the next three years we shall find 



150 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Nathan ael Greene, now in command of the Rhod\, 
Island contingent. For intellectual calibre the 
other officers here mentioned are dwarfed at once 
in comparison with Greene, who comes out at the 
end of the war with a military reputation scarcely, 
if at all, inferior to that of Washington. Nor was 
Hathanaei Greene less notable for the sweetness 
Greene * and purity of his character than for the 
scope of his intelligence. 1 He had that rare genius 
which readily assimilates all kinds of knowledge 
through an inborn correctness of method. What- 
ever he touched, it was with a master hand, and his 
weight of sense soon won general recognition. Such 
a man was not unnaturally an eager book-buyer, 
and in this way he had some time asro 

Henry Knox. , _ . . _ , 

been brought into pleasant relations 
with the genial and intelligent Henry Knox, who 
from his bookshop in Boston had come to join the 
army as a colonel of artillery, and soon became one 
of Washington's most trusty followers. 

Of this group of officers, none have as yet 
reached very high rank in the Continental army. 
Sullivan and Greene stand at the end of the list 

of brigadier-generals ; the rest are colo- 

Older officers. , e> rri . ** . . _ A 

nels. Ine senior major-general, Arte- 
mas Ward, and the senior brigadiers, Pomeroy 

1 [Of a family always prominent in Ehode Island, he tad early 
come to be the most admired and respected citizen of the colony. 
His father, a narrow-minded Quaker, though rich in lands, mills, 
and iron forges, was averse to education, and kept his son at 
work in the forges. But the son had an intense thirst for 
knowledge, and, without neglecting his duties, he bought "books 
and became well versed in history, philosophy, and general litera- 
ture.] 



INDEPENDENCE 151 

Heath, Thomas, Wooster, and Spencer, will pres- 
ently pass into the background, to make way for 
these younger or more vigorous men. Major- 
General Israel Putnam, the picturesque 
wolf -slayer, a brave and sterling patriot, 
but of slender military capacity, will remain in the 
foreground for another year, and will then become 
relegated mainly to garrison duty. 

"With the exception of Morgan, all the officers 
here noticed are New England men, as is natural, 
since the seat of war is in Massachusetts, and an 
army really continental in complexion is still to be 
formed. The Southern colonies have as yet con- 
tributed only Morgan and the commander-in-chief. 
New York is represented, in the Continental army, 
by two of the noblest of American heroes, Major- 
General Philip Schuyler and Brigadier-General 
Richard Montgomery ; but these able men are now 
watching over Ticonderoga and the Indian frontier 
of New York. But among the group which in 
1775 met for consultation on Cambridge Common, 
or in the noble Tory mansion now hallowed alike 
by memories of Washington and of Longfellow, 
there were yet two other generals, closely 

, . , -I,. Horafcio Gates 

associated with each other for a time in and caries 
ephemeral reputation won by false pre- 
tences, and afterwards in lasting ignominy. It is 
with pleasure that one recalls the fact that these 
men were not Americans, though both possessed 
estates in Virginia; it is with regret that one is 
forced to own them as Englishmen. Of Horatio 
Gates and Ms career of imbecility and intrigue, 
we shall by and by see more than enough. At 



152 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

this time he was present in Cambridge as adjutant- 
general of the army. But his friend, Charles Lee, 
was for the moment a far more conspicuous per- 
sonage ; and this eccentric creature, whose career 
was for a long time one of the difficult problems 
In American history, needs something more than a 
passing word of introduction. 

Although Major-General Charles Lee happened 
to have acquired an estate in Virginia, he had 
nothing in common with the illustrious family of 
Virginian Lees beyond the accidental identity of 
name. He was born in England, and had risen in 
the British army to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, 
Lee's personal He had served in America in the Seven 
peculiarities. Te ars' War, and afterward, as a soldier 
of fortune, he had wandered about Europe, obtain- 
ing at one time a place on the staff of the king of 
Poland. A restless adventurer, he had come over 
again to America as soon as he saw that a war was 
brewing here. There is nothing to show that he 
cared a rush for the Americans, or for the cause 
in which they were fighting, but he sought the 
opportunity of making a name for himself. He 
was received with enthusiasm by the Americans. 
His loud, pompous manner and enormous self-con- 
fidence at first imposed upon everybody. He was 
tall, lank, and hollow-cheeked, with a discontented 
expression of face. In dress he was extremely 
slovenly. He was fond of dogs, and always had 
three or four at his heels, but toward men and 
women his demeanour was morose and insulting. 
He had a sharp, cynical wit, and was always mak- 
ing severe remarks in a harsh, rough voice. But 



INDEPENDENCE. 153 

disagreeable as lie was, the trustful American 
imagination endowed Mm with the qualities of a 
great soldier. His reputation was part of the un- 
conscious tribute which the provincial mind of our 
countrymen was long wont to pay to the men and 
things of Europe ; and for some time his worst 
actions found a lenient interpretation as the mere 
eccentricities of a wayward genius. He had hoped 
to be made commander-in-chief of the army, and 
had already begun to nourish a bitter grudge 
against Washington, by whom he regarded himself 
as supplanted. In the following year we shall see 
him endeavouring to thwart the plans of Washing- 
ton at the most critical moment of the war, but for 
the present he showed no signs of insincerity, ex- 
cept perhaps in an undue readiness to parley with 
the British commanders. As soon as it became 
clear that a war was beginning, the hope of win- 
ning glory by effecting an accommodation with the 
enemy offered a dangerous temptation to men of 
weak virtue in eminent positions. In October, 
1775, the American camp was thrown into great 
consternation by the discovery that Dr. Benjamin 
Benjamin Church, one of the most con- Churcl1 - 
spicuous of the Boston leaders, had engaged in a 
secret correspondence with the enemy. Dr. Church 
was thrown into jail, but as the evidence of treason- 
able intent was not absolutely complete, he was set 
free in the following spring, and allowed to visit 
the West Indies for his health. The ship in which 
he sailed was never heard from again. This kind 
of temptation, to which Church succumbed at the 
first outbreak of the war, beset Lee with fatal 



154 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

effect after the Declaration of Independence, and 
wrought the ruin of Arnold after the conclusion of 
the ^French alliance. 

To such a man as Charles Lee, destitute of faith 
in the loftier human virtues or in the strength of 
political ideas, it might easily have seemed that 
more was to be hoped from negotiation than from 
an attempt to resist Great Britain with such an 
army as that of which he now came to command 
the left wing* It was fortunate that the British 
generals were ignorant of the real state of things. 
Among the moral effects of the battle of Bunker 
Hill there was one which proved for the moment 
to he of inestimable value. It impressed upon 
Greneral Howe, who now succeeded to the chief 
command, the feeling that the Americans were 
more formidable than had been supposed, and that 
much care and forethought would be required for 
a successful attack upon them. In a man of his 
easy-going disposition, such a feeling was enough 
to prevent decisive action. It served to keep the 
British force idle in Boston for months, and was 
thus of great service to the American cause. 
For in spite of the zeal and valour it had shown, 
this army of New England minute-men was by no 
means in a fit condition for carrying on such an 
arduous enterprise as the siege of Boston. When 
Washington took command of the army on Cam- 
bridge Common, he found that the first and most 
trying task before him was out of this excellent 
but very raw material to create an army upon 
which he could depend. The battle of Bunkei 
Hill had just been lost, under circumstances which 



155 

were calculated to clieer the Americans and 
make them hopeful of the future ; but 

- r , -i-i Difficultwork 

it would not do to risk another battle, for washmg- 
with an untrained staff and a scant 
supply of powder. All the work of organizing an 
army was still to be done, and the circumstances 
were not such as to make it an easy work. It was 
not merely that the men, who were much better 
trained in the discipline of the town-meeting than 
in that of the camp, needed to be taught the all- 
important lesson of military subordination : it was 
at first a serious question how they were to be 
kept together at all. That the enthusiasm kindled 
on the day of Lexington should have sufficed to 
bring together 16,000 men, and to keep them for 
three months at their posts, was already remark- 
able ; but no army, however patriotic and self-sac- 
rificing, can be supported on enthusiasm alone. 
The army of which Washington took command 
was a motley crowd, clad in every variety of rustic 
attire, armed with trusty muskets and rifles, as their 
recent exploit had shown, but destitute of almost 
everything else that belongs to a soldier's outfit. 
From the Common down to the river, their rude 
tents were dotted about here and there, some made 
of sail-cloth stretched over poles, some piled up of 
stones and turf, some oddly wrought of twisted 
green boughs ; while the more fortunate ones found 
comparatively luxurious quarters in Massachusetts 
Hall, or in the little Episcopal church, or in the 
houses of patriotic citizens. These volunteers had 
enlisted for various periods, under various con- 
tracts with various town or provincial govern- 



156 THE AKEEICAN DEVOLUTION ', 

ments. Their terms of service had naturally teen 
conceived to be short, and it was not only not alto- 
gether clear how they were going to be paid, tut 
it was not easy to see how they were going to be 
fed. That this army should have been already 
subsisted for three months, without any commis- 
sariat, was in itself an extraordinary fact. Day 
by day the heavy carts had rumbled into Cam- 
bridge, bringing from the highlands of Berkshire 
and Worcester, and from the Merrimac and Con- 
necticut valleys, whatever could in any wise be 
spared of food, or clothing, or medicines, for the 
patriot army ; and the pleasant fields of Cambridge 
were a busy scene of kindness and sympathy. 

Such means as these, however, could not long 
be efficient. If war was to be successfully con- 
ducted, there must be a commissariat, there must 
be ammunition, and there must be money. And 
here "Washington found himself confronted with 
the difficulty which never ceased to vex his noble 
soul and disturb his best laid schemes until the 
day when he swooped down upon Cornwallis at 
Yorktown. He had to keep making 
gov^SSentai the army, with which he was too often 
organza ion. ex p ec ^ e( j gg^ battles ere it was half 

made ; and in this arduous work he could get but 
little systematic help from any quarter. At pres- 
ent the difficulty was that there was nowhere any 
organized government competent to support an 
army. On Washington's arrival, the force sur- 
rounding Boston owed allegiance, as we have seen, 
to four distinct commonwealths, of which two, 
indeed, Connecticut and Rhode Island, pre- 



INDEPENDENCE. 157 

serving their ancient charters, with governors 
elected by themselves, were still in their normal 
condition. In New Hampshire, on the other hand, 
the royal governor, Wentworth 5 whose personal 
popularity was deservedly great, still kept his 
place, while Stark and his men had gone to Cam- 
bridge in spite of him. In Massachusetts the rev- 
olutionary Provincial Congress still survived, but 
with uncertain powers ; even the Continental Con- 
gress which adopted the Cambridge army in the 
name of the United Colonies was simply an ad- 
visory body, without the power to raise taxes or 
to beat up recruits. From this administrative 
chaos, through which all the colonies, save Con- 
necticut and Ehode Island, were forced to pass in 
these trying times, Massachusetts was the first to 
emerge, in July, 1775, by reverting to Kewgovera . 
the provisions of its old charter, and Stisttt^ 8 " 
forming a government in which the Jul y 1775 - 
king's authority was virtually disallowed. A rep- 
resentative assembly was chosen, by the people 
in their town-meetings, according to time-honoured 
precedent ; and this new legislature itself elected 
an annual council of twenty-eight members, to sit 
as an upper house. James Bowdoin, as president 
of the council, became chief executive officer of 
the commonwealth, and John Adams was made 
chief-justice. Forty thousand pounds were raised 
by a direct tax on polls and on real estate, and 
bills of credit were issued for 1,000 more. The 
commonwealth adopted a new seal, and a proc- 
lamation, issued somewhat later by Chief-Justice 
Adams, enjoining it upon all people to give loyal 



158 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

obedience to the new government, closed with tlie 
significant invocation " God save the people," in- 
stead of the customary " God save the king. 55 

In taking this decisive step, Massachusetts was 
simply the first to act upon the general recommen- 
dation of the Continental Congress, that the sev- 
eral colonies should forthwith proceed to frame 
governments for. themselves, based upon the suf- 
frages of the people. From such a recommenda- 
tion as this to a formal declaration of indepen- 
dence, the distance to be traversed was not great. 
Samuel Adams urged that in declaring the colonies 
independent Congress would be simply recognizing 
a fact which in reality already existed, and that 
by thus looking facts squarely in the face the 
inevitable war might be conducted with far greater 
efficiency. But he was earnestly and ably opposed 
by Dickinson of Pennsylvania, whose arguments 
for the present prevailed in the Congress. It was 
felt that the Congress, as a mere advisory body, 
had no right to take a step of such supreme im- 
portance without first receiving explicit instruc- 
tions from every one of the colonies. Besides 
this, the thought of separation was still a pain- 
ful thought to most of the delegates, and it 
was deemed well worth while to try the effect of 
one more candid statement of grievances, to be 
set forth in a petition to his majesty. For like 
reasons, the Congress did not venture to take 
measures to increase its own authoritv ; 

CoTigress sends , / * 

a petition to and when Franklin, still thinking" of 

the Mug. . 7 o 

union as he had been thinking for more 
than twenty years, now brought forward a new 



INDEPENDENCE. 159 

scheme, somewhat similar to the Articles of Con- 
federation afterwards adopted, it was set aside as 
premature. The king was known to be fiercely 
opposed to any dealings with the colonies as a 
united body, and so considerate of his feelings 
were these honest and peace-loving delegates that 9 
after much discussion, they signed their carefully 
worded petition severally, and not jointly. They 
signed it as individuals speaking for the people 
of the American colonies, not as members of an 
organic body representing the American people. 
To emphasize still further their conciliatory mood, 
the delivery of the petition was entrusted to Rich- 
ard Penn, a descendant of the great Quaker and 
joint-proprietary in the government of Pennsyl- 
vania, an excellent man and an ardent loyalist. 
At the same time that this was done, an issue of 
paper money was made, to be severally guaranteed 
by the thirteen colonies, and half a million dollars 
were sent to Cambridge to be used for the army. 

Military operations, however, came for the time 
to a stand -still. While Washington's energies 
were fully occupied in organizing and drilling his 
troops, in providing them with powder and ball, in 
raising lines of fortification, in making good the 
troublesome vacancies due to short terms of enlist- 
ment, and above all in presenting unfailingly a 
bold front to the enemy ; while the encampments 
about Boston were the daily scene of tedious work, 
without any immediate prospect of brilliant achieve- 
ment, the Congress and the people were patiently 
waiting to hear the result of the last petition that 
was ever to be sent from these colonies to the king 
of Great Britain. 



160 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION, 

Penn made all possible haste, and arrived In Lon- 
don on the 14th of August ; but when he got there 
the king would neither see him, nor receive the 
petition in any way, directly or indirectly. The 
Congress was an illegal assembly which had no 
business to send letters to him : if any one of the 
colonies wanted to make terms for itself separately,, 
he might be willing to listen to it. But this idea 
of a united America was something unknown 
either to law or to reason, something that could 
not be too summarily frowned down. So while 
Penn waited about London, the king 

The Mng is- . . 

sues a procia- igo^ed & proclamation ; setting forth 

matron, ana . . " 

tries to Mre -jj^ j^any of his subjects in the colonies 
Eusaa. were i n open and armed rebellion, and 
calling upon all loyal subjects of the realm to assist 
in bringing to condign punishment the authors and 
abettors o this foul treason. Having launched 
this thunderbolt, George sent at once to Eussia to 
see if he could hire 20,000 men to aid in giving it 
effect, for the " loyal subjects of the realm " were 
slow in coming forward. A war against the 
Americans was not yet popular in England. Lord 
Chatham withdrew his eldest son, Lord Pitt, from 
the army, lest he should be called upon to serve 
against the men who were defending the common 
liberties of Englishmen. There was, moreover, in 
England as well as in America, a distrust of regular 
armies. Eecruiting was difficult, and conscription 
was something that the people would not endure 
unless England should actually be threatened with 
invasion. The king had already been obliged to 
raise a force of his Hanoverian subjects to garrison 



INDEPENDENCE* 161 

Minorca and Gibraltar, thus setting free the Brit- 
ish defenders of these strongholds for service in 
America. He had no further resource except in 
hiring troops from abroad. But Ms attempt ia 
Russia was not successful, for the Em- Catherine 
press Catherine, with all her faults, was refuses - 
not disposed to sell the blood of her subjects. She 
improved the occasion as sovereigns and others 
will sometimes do by asking George, sarcasti- 
cally, if he thought it quite compatible with his 
dignity to employ foreign troops against his own 
subjects ; as for Russian soldiers, she had none to 
spare for such a purpose. Foiled in this quarter, 
the king applied to the Duke of Brunswick, the 
Landgrave of Hesse - Cassel, the princes of Wai- 
deck and Anhalt-Zerbst, the Margrave of Ans- 
pach-Bayreuth, and the Count of Hesse -Hanau, 
and succeeded in making a bargain for 
20,000 of the finest infantry in Europe, hires German 
with four good generals, Riedesel of r ps * 
Brunswick, and Knyphausen, Von Heister, and 
Donop of Hesse. The hiring of these troops was 
bitterly condemned by Lord John Cavendish ia 
the House of Commons, and by Lords Camden 
and Shelburne and the Duke of Richmond in the 
House of Lords ; and Chatham's indignant invec- 
tives at a somewhat later date are familiar to every 
one. It is proper, however, that in such an affair 
as this we should take care to affix our blame in 
the right place. The king might well argue that 
in carrying on a war for what the majority of Par- 
liament regarded as a righteous object, it was no 
worse for him to hire men than to buy cannop 



162 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

and ships. The German troops, on their part, 
might justly complain of Lord Camden for stig- 
matizing them as u mercenaries," inasmuch as they 
did not come to America for pay, but because there 
was no help for it. It was indeed with a heavy 
heart that these honest men took up their arms to 
go beyond sea and fight for a cause in which they 
felt no sort o interest, and great was the mourn- 
ing over their departure. The persons who really 
deserved to hear the odium of this transaction 
were the mercenary princes who thus shamelessly 
sold their subjects into slavery. It was a striking 
instance of the demoralization which had been 
wrought among the petty courts of Germany in 
the last days of the old empire, and among the 
motion in German people it excited profound in- 
aermany. dignation. The popular feeling was 
well expressed by Schiller, in his u Cabale und 
Liebe." Frederick the Great, in a letter to Vol- 
taire, declared himself beyond measure disgusted, 
and by way of publicly expressing his contempt 
for the transaction he gave orders to his custom- 
house officers that upon all such of these soldiers 
as should pass through Prussian territory a toll 
should be levied, as upon " cattle exported for for- 
eign shambles." 

When the American question was brought up in 
the autumn session of Parliament, it was treated in 
the manner with which the Americans tad by this 
time become familiar. A few far-sighted men still 
urged the reasonableness of the American claims, 
but there was now a great majority against them. 
In spite of grave warning voices, both houses de 



INDEPENDENCE. 168 

cided to support tlie king ; and In this they were 
upheld by the university of Oxford, which, a cen- 
tury ago had burned the works of John Milton 
as " blasphemous," and which now, with equal 
felicity, in a formal address to the king ? described 
the Americans as " a people who had forfeited their 
lives and their fortunes to the justice of the state." 
At the same time the department of American 
affairs was taken from the amiable Lord Dart- 
mouth, and given to the truculent Lord George 
Germain. Those things were done in November, 
1775, and in the preceding month they had been 
heralded by an act of wanton barbarity on the part 
of a British naval officer, albeit an unwarranted 
act, which the British government as promptly as 
possible disowned. On the 16th of Oc- 
tober, Captain Mowatt had sailed with pS!Sc 
four small vessels Into the harbour of ' 

Portland (then called Falmouth), and with shells 
and grenades set fire to the little town. St. Paul's 
Church, all the public buildings, and three fourths 
of all the dwellings were burned to the ground, and 
a thousand unoffending men, women, and children 
were thus turned out-of-doors just as the sharp 
Maine winter was coming on to starve and freeze 
them. 

The news of the burning of Portland reached 
Philadelphia on the same day (October 31) with 
the news that George III. was about to send for- 
eign mercenaries to fight against his American 
subjects ; and now the wrath of Congress was 
thoroughly kindled, and the party which advised 
further temporizing was thrown into helpless mi- 
nority. 



164 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

"Well, brother rebel," said a Southern member 
to Samuel Ward of Rhode Island, " we have now 
got a sufficient answer to our petition: I want 
nothing more, but am ready to declare ourselves 
Effect* upon independent." Congress now advised 
congress. ]sf ew Hampshire, Virginia, and South 
Carolina to frame for themselves new republi- 
can governments, as Massachusetts had already 
done ; it urged South Carolina to seize the British 
vessels in her waters ; it appointed a committee to 
correspond with foreign powers ; and above all, 
it adopted unreservedly the scheme, already par- 
tially carried out, for the expulsion of the British 
from Canada. 

At once upon the outbreak of hostilities at Lex- 
ington, the conquest of Canada had been contem- 
plated by the Northern patriots, who well remem- 
bered how, in days gone by, the valley of the St. 
Lawrence had furnished a base for attacks upon 
the province of New York, which was then the 
strategic centre of the American world. It was 
deemed an act of military prudence to secure this 
region at the outset. But so long as the least 
hope of conciliation remained, Congress was unwil- 
ling to adopt any measures save such as were purely 
The Amen- defensive in character. As we have seen, 
SSdTslrt ** was on ty w * tn reluctance that it had 
1775> sanctioned the garrisoning of Ticonder- 

oga by the Connecticut troops. But in the course 
of the summer it was learned that the governor 
of Canada, Sir Guy Carleton, was about to take 
steps to recover Ticonderoga ; and it was credibly 
reported that intrigues were going on with the Iro- 



INDEPENDENCE, 165 

quois tribes, to induce them to harry the New Eng- 
land frontier and the pleasant farms on the Hud- 
son : so that, under these circumstances, the inva- 
sion of Canada was now authorized by Congress 
as a measure of self-defence. An expedition down 
Lake Champlain, against Montreal, was at once 
set on foot. As Schuyler, the commander of the 
northern department, was disabled by ill health, 
the enterprise was confided to Kichard Montgom- 
ery, and it could not have been put in better 
hands. Late in August, Montgomery started 
from Ticonderoga, and on the 12th of September, 
with a force of two thousand men, he laid siege to 
the fortress of St. John's, which, commanded the 
approach to Montreal. Carleton, whose utmost 
exertions could bring together only some nine hun- 
dred men, made heroic but fruitless efforts to stop 
his progress. After a siege of fifty days, St. 
John's surrendered on the 3d of November, and 
on the 12th Montgomery entered Montreal in tri- 
umph. The people of Canada had thus far seemed 
favourably disposed toward the American invaders, 
and Montgomery issued a proclamation urging 
them to lose no time in choosing delegates to at- 
tend the Continental Congress. 

Meanwhile, in September, Washington had de- 
tached from the army at Cambridge one thousand 
New England infantry, with two companies of 
Pennsylvania riflemen and Morgan's famous Vir- 
ginia sharpshooters, and ordered them to advance 
upon Quebec through the forests of Maine and by 
way of the rivers Kennebec and Chaudiere. The 
expedition was commanded by Colonel Benedict 



Maine " 



166 THE AMERICAN EEVOLUTION, 

Arnold, who seems to have been one of the first, 
if not the first, to suggest it. The en- 
terprise was one to call for all his per- 
' sistent daring and fertile resource. It 
was an amphibious journey, as they 
now rowed their boats with difficulty against the 
strong, swift current of the Kennebec, and now, 
carrying boats and oars on their shoulders, forced 
their way through the tangled undergrowth of the 
primeval forests. Often they had to wade across 
perilous bogs, and presently their shoes were cut 
to pieces by sharp stones, and their clothes torn 
to shreds by thorns and briers. Their food gave 
out, and though some small game was shot, their 
hunger became such that they devoured their dogs. 
When they reached the head of the Chaudiere, 
after this terrible march of thirty-three days, two 
hundred of their number had succumbed to starva- 
tion, cold, and fatigue, while two hundred more 
had given out and returned to Massachusetts, car- 
rying with them such of the sick and disabled as 
they could save. The descent of the Chaudiere in 
their boats afforded some chance for rest, and 
presently they began to find cattle for food. At 
last, on the 13th of November, the next day after 
Montgomery's capture of Montreal, they crossed 
the broad St. Lawrence, and climbed the Heights 
of Abraham at the very place where Wolfe had 
climbed to victory sixteen years ago. There was 
splendid bravado in Arnold's advancing to the 
very gates with his little, worn-out army, now re- 
duced to seven hundred men, and summoning the 
garrison either to come out and fight, or to surren- 



INDEPENDENCE. 167 

der the town. But the garrison very properly 
would neither surrender nor fight. The town had 
been warned in time, and Arnold had no alterna- 
tive Tbufc to wait for Montgomery to join him. 

Six days afterward, Carleton, disguised as a 
farmer, and ferried down stream in a little boat, 
found his way into Quebec ; and on the 3d of De 
cember, Montgomery made his appearance with a 
small force, which raised the number of the Amer- 
icans to twelve hundred men. As Carleton persist- 
ently refused to come out of his defences, it was 
resolved to carry the works by storm, a chival- 
rous, nay, one might almost say, a foolhardy deci- 
sion, had it not been so nearly justified by the 
event. On the last day of 1775, Eng- 

, j ' . , . T * r\ Assault upon 

land came within an ace or losing Que- Quebec, Dec. 
bee. At two o'clock in the morning, in 
a blinding snowstorm, Montgomery and Arnold 
began each a furious attack, at opposite sides of 
the town ; and aided by the surprise, each came 
near carrying his point. Montgomery had almost 
forced his way in when he fell dead, pierced by 
three bullets ; and this so chilled the enthusiasm 
of his men that they flagged, until reinforcements 
drove them back. Arnold, on his side, was se- 
verely wounded and carried from the field; but 
the indomitable Morgan took his place, and his 
Virginia company stormed the battery opposed to 
them, and fought their way far into the town. Had 
the attack on the other side been kept up with 
equal vigour, as it might have been but for Mont- 
gomery's death, Quebec must have fallen. As it 
was, Morgan's triumphant advance only served t<? 



168 TffiB? AMEEICAN EEVOLUTION. 

isolate Mm, and presently lie and Ms gallant com- 
pany were surrounded and captured. 

With the failure of this desperate attack passed 

away the golden opportunity for taking 
teS P t the citadel of Canada. Arnold remained 

^^j^ the ^nter fa the neighbour- 
liood ci Quehec, and in the spring the enterprise 
was taken up by Wooster and Sullivan with fresh 
forces. But by this time many Hessians had come 
over, and Carleton, reinforced until his army num- 
bered 13,000, was enabled to recapture Montreal 
and push back the Americans, until in June, after 
a hazardous retreat, well conducted by Sullivan, 
the remnant of their invading army found shelter 
at Crown Point. Such was the disastrous ending 
of a campaign which at the outset had promised 
a brilliant success, and which is deservedly famous 
for the heroism and skill with which it was con- 
ducted. The generalship of Montgomery received 
the warm approval of no less a critic than Freder- 
ick the Great ; and the chivalrous bravery of Ar- 
nold, both in his march through the wilderness and 
in the military operations which followed, was such 
that if a kind fate could then and there have cut 
the thread of Ms life, he would have left behind 
him a sweet and shining memory. As for the at- 
tempt to bring Canada into the American union, it 
was one which had no hope of success save through 
a strong display of military force. The sixteen 
years which had elapsed since the victory of Wolfe 
had not transformed the Canadian of the old regime 
into a free-born Englishman. The question at 
present for him was only that of a choice of alle- 



INDEPENDENCE. 169 

giance ; and while at first the invaders were favour- 
ably received, it soon became apparent that be- 
tween the Catholic and the Puritan there could be 
but little real sympathy. The Quebec Act, which 
legalized Catholic worship in Canada, had done 
much toward securing England's hold upon this 
part of her American possessions. And although, 
in the colourless political condition of this northern 
province, the capture of Quebec might well have 
brought it into the American union, where it would 
gradually have taken on a fresh life, as surely as 
it has done under British guidance, yet nothing 
short of such a military occupation could have had 
any effect in determining its languid preferences. 

While Canada was thus freed from the presence 
of the Continental troops, the British army, on the 
other hand, was driven from Boston, and New 
England was cleared of the enemy. During the 
autumn and winter, Washington had drawn his 
lines as closely as possible about the town, while 
engaged in the work of organizing and equipping 
his army. The hardest task was to collect a suf- 
ficient quantity of powder and ball, and to bring 
together siege-guns. As the season wore on, the 
country grew impatient, and Washing- 3^ ^ ege of 
ton sometimes had to listen to criticisms Boston - 
like those that were directed against McClellan 
in Virginia, at the beginning of 1862, or against 
Grant before Vicksburg, in the spring of 1863. 
President Hancock, who owned a great deal of 
property in Boston, urged him. to set fire to the 
town and destroy it, if by so doing he could drive 
the British to their ships. But Washington had 



170 THS AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

planned mucli more wisely. By the 1st of March 
a great quantity of cannon had been brought in by 
Henry Knox, some of them dragged on sledges all 
the way from Ticonderoga, and so at last Wash- 
ington felt himself prepared to seize upon Dorches- 
ter Heights. This position commanded the town 
and harbour even more effectually than Bunker 
Hill, and why in all these months General Howe 
had not occupied it one would find it hard to say. 
He was bitterly attacked for his remissness by the 
British newspapers, as was quite natural. 

Washington chose for his decisive movement the 
night of the 4th of March. Eight hundred men 
led the way, escorting the wagons la- 
den with spades and crowbars, hatchets, 



Heights, hammers, and nails ; and after them f ol- 

Ifueh 4*1776. , , , ' , , , .., ,, 

lowed twelve hundred men, with three 
hundred ox-carts, carrying timbers and bales of 
hay ; while the rear was brought up by the heavy 
siege-guns. From Somerville, East Cambridge, 
and Koxbury, a furious cannonade was begun soon 
after sunset and kept up through the night, com- 
pletely absorbing the attention of the British, who 
kept up a lively fire in return. The roar of the 
cannon drowned every other sound for miles 
around, while all night long the two thousand 
Americans, having done their short march in per- 
fect secrecy, were busily digging and building on 
Dorchester Heights, and dragging their siege-guns 
into position. Early next morning, Howe saw 
with astonishment what had been done, and began 
to realize his perilous situation. The commander 
o the fleet sent word that unless the Americans 



INDEPENDENCE. 171 

could be forthwith dislodged, he could not venture 
to keep his ships in the harbour. Most of the day 
was consumed in deciding what should be done 5 
until at last Lord Percy was told to take three 
thousand men and storm the works. But the 
slaughter of Bunker Hill had taught its lesson so 
well that neither Percy nor his men had any stom- 
ach for such an enterprise. A violent storm, coin- 
ing up toward nightfall, persuaded them to delay 
the attack till next day, and by that time it had 
become apparent to all that the American works, 
continually growing, had become impregnable. 
Percy's orders were accordingly countermanded, 
and it was decided to abandon the town immedi- 
ately. It was the sixth anniversary of the day on 
which Samuel Adams had overawed Hutchinson, 
and forced him to withdraw his two British regi- 
ments from Boston. The work then begun was 
now consummated by Washington, and from that 
time forth the deliverance of Massachusetts was 
complete. Howe caused it at once to be known 
among the citizens that he was about to 

. -r> . , , , ., The British 

evacuate >oston, but he threatened to troops evac* 
lay the town in ashes if his troops should March 17, ' 
be fired on. The selectmen conveyed 
due information of all this to Washington, who 
accordingly, secure in the achievement of his pur- 
pose, allowed the enemy to depart in peace. By 
the 17th, the eight thousand troops were all on 
board their ships, and, taking with them all the 
Tory citizens, some nine hundred in number, they 
sailed away for Halifax. Their space did not 
permit them to carry away their heavy arms, and 



172 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

their retreat, slow as It was, bore marks of Imrry 
and confusion. In taking possession o the town, 
Washington captured more than two hundred ser- 
viceable cannon, ten times more powder and ball 
than Ms army had ever seen before, and an im- 
mense quantity of muskets, gun-carriages, and mil- 
itary stores of every sort. Thus was New England 
set free by a single brilliant stroke, with very 
slight injury to private property, and with a total 
loss of not more than twenty lives. 

The time was now fairly ripe for the colonies to 
declare themselves independent of Great Britain. 
The idea of a separation from the mother-country, 
which in the autumn had found but few supporters, 
grew in favour day by day through the winter and 
spring. The incongruousness of the present situa- 
AproTMomi *ion was well typified by the flag which 
*** Washington flung to the breeze on New 

Year's Day at Cambridge, which was made up of 
thirteen stripes, to represent the United Colonies, 
but which retained the cross of St. George in the 
corner. Thus far, said Benjamin Harrison, they 
had contrived to u hobble along under a fatal at- 
tachment to Great Britain," but the time had come 
when one must consider the welfare of one's own 
country first of all. As Samuel Adams said, their 
petitions had not been heard, and yet had been 
Effect of ba answered by armies and fleets, and by 
Hnngo^ myrmidons hired from abroad. Noth- 
dom " ing had made a greater impression upon 

the American people than this hiring of German 
troops. It went farther than any other single 
cause to ripen their minds for the declaration of 



INDEPENDENCE. 173 

Independence, Many now began to agree with 
the Massachusetts statesman ; and while public 
opinion was in this malleable condition, there ap- 
peared a pamphlet which wrought a prodigious ef 
feet upon the people, mainly because it gave terse 
and vigorous expression to views which every one 
had already more than half formed for himself, 
, Thomas Paine had come over to America in De- 
cember, 1774, and through the favour of Franklin 
had secured employment as editor of the " Pennsyl- 
vania Magazine*" He was by nature a dissenfcer 
and a revolutionist to the marrow of his bones. 
Full of the generous though often blind enthu- 
siasm of the eighteenth century for the ^j^ 
"rights of man," he was no respecter of Paine - 
the established order, whether in church or state. 
To him the church and its doctrines meant slavish 
superstition, and the state meant tyranny. Of crude 
and undisciplined mind, and quite devoid of schol- 
arship, yet endowed with native acuteness and sa- 
gacity, and with no mean power of expressing 
himself, Paine succeeded in making everybody 
read what he wrote, and achieved a popular repu- 
tation out of all proportion to his real merit. 
Among devout American families his name is still 
a name of horror and opprobrium, and uneducated 
freethinkers still build lecture-halls in honour of Ms 
memory, and celebrate the anniversary of his birth- 
day, with speeches full of dismal platitudes. The 
** Age of Keason," which was the cause of all this 
singular blessing and banning, contains, amid much 
crude argument, some sound and sensible criticism, 
such as is often far exceeded in boldness in the 



174 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

books and sermons of Unitarian and Episcopalian 
divines of the present day ; but its tone is coarse 
and dull, and with the improvement of popular 
education it is fast sinking into complete and de- 
served oblivion. There are times, however, when 
such caustic pamphleteers as Thomas Paine have 
their uses. There are times when they can bring 
about results which are not so easily achieved by 
men of finer mould and more subtle intelligence. 
It was at just such a time, in January, 1776, that 
"o mmon Paine published his pamphlet, "Corn- 
Sense." m<m Sense,' 5 on the suggestion of Ben- 
jamin Rush, and with the approval of Franklin 
and of Samuel Adams. The pamphlet is full of 
scurrilous abuse of the English people, and resorts 
to such stupid arguments as the denial of the Eng- 
lish origin of the Americans. Not one third of 
the people, even of" Pennsylvania, are of English 
descent, argues Paine, as if Pennsylvania had 
been preeminent among the colonies for its 
English blood, and not, as in reality, perhaps the 
least English of all the thirteen save New York. 
But along with all this stuff there was a sensible 
and striking statement of the practical state of the 
case between England and the colonies. The rea- 
sons were shrewdly and vividly set forth for 
looking upon reconciliation as hopeless, and for 
seizing the present moment to declare to the world 
what the logic of events was already fast making 
an accomplished fact. Only thus, it was urged, 
could the States of America pursue a coherent and 
well-defined policy, and preserve their dignity in 
the eyes of the world 



INDEPENDENCE. 175 

It was difficult for the printers, with the clumsy 
presses of that day, to bring out copies of " Common 
Sense " fast enough to meet the demand for it. 
More than a hundred thousand copies were speedily 
sold, and it carried conviction wherever it went. 
At the same time, Parliament did its best to rein- 
force the argument by passing an act to close all 
American ports, and authorize the confiscation of 
all American ships and cargoes, as well as of such 
neutral vessels as might dare to trade with this 
proscribed people. And, as if this were not quite 
enough, a clause was added by which British com- 
manders on the high seas were directed to impress 
the crews of such American ships as 
they might meet, and to compel them, 
under penalty of death, to enter the ser- Mmimtions - 
vice against their fellow-countrymen. In reply to 
this edict, Congress, in March, ordered the ports 
of America to be thrown open to all nations ; it 
issued letters of marque, and it advised all the col. 
onies to disarm such Tories as should refuse to con- 
tribute to the common defence. These measures, 
as Franklin said, were virtually a declaration of 
war against Great Britain. But before taking the 
last irrevocable step, the prudent Congress waited 
for instructions from every one of the colonies. 

The first colony to take decisive action in behalf 
of independence was North Carolina, a common- 
wealth in which the king had supposed the outlook 
to be especially favourable for the loyalist party. 
Recovered in some measure from the turbulence 
of its earlier days, North Carolina was fast becom- 
ing a prosperous community of small planter^ 



176 TEE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

and its population had increased so rapidly that 
it now ranked fourth among the colonies, imme- 
diately after Pennsylvania. Since the overthrow 
of the Pretender at Culloden there had been a 
great immigration of sturdy Scots from 
^NoSf the western Highlands, in which the 
Carolina. ^^ o ^^^li arL d Macleod were 

especially represented. The celebrated Flora Mac- 
donald herself, the romantic woman who saved 
Charles Edward in 1746, had lately come over here 
and settled at Kingsborough with Allan Macdon- 
ald, her husband. These Scottish immigrants also 
helped to colonize the upland regions of South 
Carolina and Georgia, and they have powerfully 
affected the race composition of the Southern peo- 
ple, forming an ancestry of which their descendants 
may well be proud. Though these Highland clans- 
men had taken part in the Stuart insurrection, they 
had become loyal enough to the government of 
George III., and it was now hoped that with their 
aid the colonies might be firmly secured, and its 
neighbours on either side overawed. To this end, 
in January, Sir Henry Clinton, taking 
with him 2,000 troops, left Boston and 



3X0 sailed for the Cape Fear river, while a 

force of seven regiments and ten ships-of-war, un- 
der Sir Peter Parker, was ordered from Ireland to 
eooperate with him. At the same time, Martin, 
the royal governor, who for safety had retired on 
board a British ship, carried on negotiations with 
the Highlanders, until a force of 1,600 men was 
raised, and, under command of Donald Macdonald, 
marched down toward the coast to welcome the 



INDEPENDENCE. 177 

arrival of Clinton. But North Carolina had its 
minute-men as well as Massachusetts, and no 
sooner was this movement perceived than Colonel 
Richard Caswell, with 1,000 militia, Thefl g ht at 
took up a strong position at the bridge ^ree?,' 8 
over Moore's Creek, which Macdonald Feb ' 2 ' T ' 1776 * 
was about to pass on his way to the coast. After 
a sharp fight of a half hour's duration the Scots 
were seized with panic, and were utterly routed. 
Nine hundred prisoners, 2,000 stand of arms, 
and 15,000 in gold were the trophies of Cas- 
well's victory. The Scottish commander and his 
kinsman, the husband of Flora Macdonald, were 
taken and lodged in jail, and thus ended the sway 
of George III. over North Carolina. The effect 
of the victory was as contagious as that of Lexing- 
ton had been in New England. Within ten days 
10,000 militia were ready to withstand the enemy, 
so that Clinton, on his arrival, decided not to land, 
and stayed cruising about Albeinarle Sound, wait- 
ing for the fleet under Parker, which did not ap- 
pear on the scene until May. A provincial con- 
gress was forthwith assembled, and instructions 
were sent to the North Carolina delegates in the 
Continental Congress, empowering them "to con- 
cur with the delegates in the other col- ^ ,. 

, t North Carolina 

onies in declaring independency and declares for 

t r J independence. 

forming foreign alliances, reserving to 

the colony the sole and exclusive right of forming 

a constitution and laws for it." 

At the same time that these things were taking 
place, the colony of South Carolina was framing 
for itself a new government, and on the 23d of 



178 T&E AMERICAN EEVOLUT1ON. 

March, without directly alluding to independence, 

it empowered its delegates to concur in 

SoSrcaroHna any measure which, might be deemed 

*Bd Georgia. ^^^ to the we jf are of America. In 

Georgia the provincial congress, in choosing a new 
set of delegates to Philadelphia, authorized them 
to " join in any measure which they might think 
calculated for the common good." 

In Virginia the party in favour of independence 
had been in the minority, until, in November, 
1775, the royal governor, Lord Dunmore, had is- 
sued a proclamation, offering freedom to all such 
negroes and indented white servants as might enlist 
for the purpose of " reducing the colony 

Virginia : Lord / *, -\ , ?j rni 

Duxuaoie's to a proper sense oi its duty. inis 
proclamation. meagure j^j D unmO re hoped would 

"oblige the rebels to disperse, in order to take 
care of their families and property." But the 
object was not attained. The relations between 
master and slave in Virginia were so pleasant that 
the offer of freedom fell upon dull, uninterested 
ears. With light work and generous fare, the 
condition of the Virginia negro was a happy one. 
The time had not yet come when he was liable to 
be torn from wife and children, to die of hardship 
in the cotton-fields and rice-swamps of the far 
South. He was proud of his connection with his 
master's estate and family, and had nothing to 
gain by rebellion. As for the indented white ser- 
vants, the governor's proposal to them was of 
about as much consequence as a proclamation of 
Napoleon's would have been if, in 1805, he had 
offered to set free the prisoners in Newgate OB 



INDEPENDENCE. ITS 

condition of their helping Mm to invade England. 
But, impotent as this measure of Lord Dunmore's 
was, it served to enrage the people of Virginia, 
setting their minds irretrievably against the king 
and his cause. During the month of November, 
hearing that a party of "rebels" were on their 
way from North Carolina to take possession of 
Norfolk, Lord Dunmore built a rude fort at the 
Great Bridge over Elizabeth river, which com- 
manded the southern approach to the town. At 
that time, Norfolk, with about 9,000 inhabitants, 
was the principal town in Virginia, and the com- 
mercial centre of the colony. The loyalist party, 
represented chiefly by Scottish merchants, was so 
strong there and so violent that many of the native 
Virginia families, finding it uncomfortable to stay 
in their homes, had gone away into the 

mi , , j , Skirmish at 

country. Ihe patriots, roused to anger the Great 
J r 



, ix- r s e 5 a 

by Dunmore s proclamation, now re- turning of 

i <j , , XT 11 J 4. Norfolk - 

solved to capture JNorfolk, and a party 
of sharpshooters, with whom the illustrious John 
Marshall served as lieutenant, occupied the bank 
of Elizabeth river, opposite Dunmore's fort. On 
the 9th of December, after a sharp fight of fifteen 
minutes, in which Dunmore's regulars lost sixty- 
one men, while not a single Virginian was slain, 
the fort was hastily abandoned, and the road to 
Norfolk was laid open for the patriots. A few 
days later the Virginians took possession of their 
town, while Dunmore sought refuge in the Liver- 
pool, ship-of-the-line, which had just sailed into 
the harbour. On New Year's Day the governor vin- 
dictively set fire to the town, which he had been 



180 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

unable to hold against its rightful owners. The 
conflagration, kindled by shells from the harbour, 
raged for three days and nights, until the whole 
town was laid in ashes, and the people were driven 
to seek such sorry shelter as might save them from 
the frosts of midwinter. 

This event went far toward determining the at- 
titude of Virginia. In November the colony had 
not felt ready to comply with the recommendation 
of Congress, and frame for herself a new govern, 
ment. The people were not yet ready to sever the 
links which bound them to Great Brit- 
e- ain. But the bombardment of their 



pendence. . , , 

principal town was an argument of 
which every one could appreciate the force and 
the meaning. During the winter and spring the 
revolutionary feeling waxed in strength daily. On 
the 6th of May, 1776, a convention was chosen to 
consider the question of independence. Mason, 
Henry, Pendleton, and the illustrious Madison 
took part in the discussion, and on the 14th it was 
unanimously voted to instruct the Virginia del- 
egates in Congress "to propose to that respecta- 
ble body to declare the United Colonies free and 
independent States," and to " give the assent of 
the colony to measures to form foreign alliances 
and a confederation, provided the power of form- 
ing government for the internal regulations of 
each colony be left to the colonial legislatures." 
At the same time, it was voted that the people of 
Virginia should establish a new government for 
their commonwealth. In the evening, "when these 
decisions liad been made known to the people of 



INDEPENDENCE. 181 

Williamsburgh, their exultation knew no "bounds. 
While the air was musical with the ringing of 
church-bells, guns were fired, and the British flag 
was hauled down at the State House, and the thir- 
teen stripes hoisted in its place. 

This decisive movement of the largest of the 
colonies was hailed throughout the country with 
eager delight ; and from other colonies which had 
not yet committed themselves responses Act}on of 
came quickly. Khode Island, which had ^^S. 
never parted with its original charter, setts * 
did not need to form a new government, hut it had 
already, on the 4th of May, omitted the king's 
name from its public documents and sheriff's writs, 
and had agreed to concur with any measures which 
Congress might see fit to adopt regarding the re- 
lations between England and America. In the 
course of the month of May town-meetings were 
held throughout Massachusetts and it was every- 
where unanimously voted to uphold Congress in 
the declaration of independence which it was now 
expected to make. 

On the 15th of May, Congress adopted a resolu- 
tion recommending to all the colonies to form for 
themselves independent governments, and in a. 
preamble, written by John Adams, it was de- 
clared that the American people could no longer 
conscientiously take oath to support any govern- 
ment deriving its authority from the Besolutionof 
Crown; all such governments must now Ma y 15 - 
be suppressed, since the king had withdrawn his 
protection from the inhabitants of the United 
Colonies. Like the famous preamble to Towns- 



182 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

hend's bill of 1767, this Adams preamble eon-. 
tamed within itself the gist of the whole matter. 
To adopt it was -virtually to cross the Rubicon, 
and it gave rise to a hot debate. James Duane 
of New York admitted that if the facts stated in 
the preamble should turn out to be true, there 
would not be a single voice against independence ; 
but he could not yet believe that the American 
petitions were not destined to receive a favour- 
able answer. " Why," therefore, " all this haste ? 
Why this urging? Why this driving?" James 
Wilson of Pennsylvania, one of the ablest of all 
the delegates in that revolutionary body, urged 
that Congress had not yet received sufficient au- 
thority from the people to justify it in taking so 
bold a step. The resolution was adopted, how- 
ever, preamble and all ; and now the affair came 
quickly to maturity, " The Gordian knot is cut 
at last ! " exclaimed John Adams. In town-meet- 
ing the people of Boston thus instructed their 
delegates : " The whole United Colonies are upon, 
the verge of a glorious revolution. We have seen 
the petitions to the king rejected with disdain. 
For the prayer of peace he has tendered the 
sword ; for liberty, chains ; for safety, death. 
Loyalty to him is now treason to our country. We 
instructions think it absolutely impracticable for 
from Boston, these colonies to be ever again subject 
to or dependent upon Great Britain, without en- 
dangering the very existence of the state. Pla- 
cing, however, unbounded confidence in the su- 
preme council of the Congress, we are determined 
to wait, most patiently wait, till their wisdom shall 



INDEPENDENCE. 183 

dictate the necessity of making a declaration of 
independence. In case the Congress should think 
it necessary for the safety of the United Colonies 
to declare them independent of Great Britain, the 
inhabitants, with their lives and the remnant of 
their fortunes, will most cheerfully support them 
in the measure." 

This dignified and temperate expression of pub- 
lic opinion was published in a Philadelphia even- 
ing paper, on the 8th of June. On the preceding 
day, in accordance with the instructions 
which had come from Virginia, the f ol- 
lowing motion had been submitted to Congress by 
Hichard Henry Lee : 

" That these United Colonies are,, and of right 
ought to be, free and independent States ; that 
they are absolved from all allegiance to the British 
Crown; and that all political connection between 
them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought 
to be, totally dissolved. 

" That it is expedient forthwith to take the most 
effectual measures for forming foreign alliances. 

" That a plan of confederation be prepared and 
transmitted to the respective colonies, for Aeir 
consideration and approbation." 

In these trying times the two greatest colonies, 
Virginia and Massachusetts, had been wont to go 
hand In hand ; and the motion of Richard Henry 
"Lee was now promptly seconded by John Adams. 
It was resisted by Dickinson and Wilson of Penn- 
sylvania, and by Eobert Livingston of New York, 
on the ground that public opinion in the middle 
colonies was not yet ripe for supporting such a 



184 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

measure ; at the same time these cautious members 
freely acknowledged that the lingering hope of an 
amicable settlement with Great Britain had come 
to be quite chimerical. The prospect of securing 
European affiances was freely discussed. The 
supporters of the motion urged that a 

Debate on n -i i 111. 

Lee's motion. Declaration of independence would be 
nothing more than the acknowledgment of a fact 
which existed already ; and until this fact should 
be formally acknowledged, it was not to be sup- 
posed that diplomatic courtesy would allow such 
powers as France and Spain to treat with the 
Americans. On the other hand, the opponents of 
tie motion argued that France and Spain were not 
likely to look with favour upon the rise of a great 
Protestant power in the western hemisphere, and 
that nothing would be easier than for these nations 
to make a bargain with England, whereby Canada 
might be restored to France and Florida to Spain, 
in return for military aid in putting down the re- 
bellious colonies. The result of the whole discus- 
sion was decidedly in favour of a declaration of in- 
dependence ; but to avoid all appearance of undue 
haste, it was decided, on the motion of Edward 
Eutledge of South Carolina, to postpone the ques- 
tion for three weeks, and invite the judgment of 
those colonies which had not yet declared them- 
selves. 

Under these circumstances, the several colonies 
acted with a promptness that outstripped 

Connecticut <*/-* s\ * 

and New the expectations oi Congress. Lonnecti- 

Hampshire. 1 T r- 

cut had no need of a new government, 
for, like Rhode Island, she had always kept the 



INDEPENDENCE. 185 

charter obtained from Lord Clarendon in 1662, 
she had always chosen her own governor, and had 
always been virtually independent of Great Brit- 
ain. Nothing now was necessary but to omit the 
king's name from legal documents and commercial 
papers, and to instruct her delegates in Congress 
to support Lee's motion ; and these things were 
done by the Connecticut legislature on the 14th of 
June. The very next day, New Hampshire, which 
had formed a new government as long ago as Jan- 
uary, joined Connecticut in declaring for indepen- 
dence. 

In New Jersey there was a sharp dispute. The 
royal governor, William Franklin, had ^ ew j er . 
a strong party in the colony ; and the sey * 
assembly had lately instructed its delegates to 
vote against independence, and had resolved to 
send a separate petition to the king. Against so 
rash and dangerous a step, Dickinson, Jay, and 
Wythe were sent by Congress to remonstrate ; and 
as the result of their intercession, the assembly, 
which yielded, was summarily prorogued by the 
governor. A provincial congress was at once 
chosen in its stead. On the 16th of June, the 
governor was arrested and sent to Connecticut for 
safe-keeping ; on the 21st, it was voted to frame 
a new government ; and on the 22d, a new set of 
delegates were elected to Congress, with instruc- 
tions to support the declaration of independence. 

In Pennsylvania there was hot discussion, for the 
whole strength of the proprietary govern- Pennsylvania 
ment was thrown into the scale against and Delaware - 
independence. Among the Quakers, too, there 



186 THE AMERICAN EEVOLUTION. 

was a strong disposition to avoid an armed conflict, 
on any terms. A little while before, they had held 
a convention, in which it was resolved that " the 
setting up and putting down kings and govern- 
ments is God's peculiar prerogative, for causes 
best known to himself, and that it is not our busi- 
ness to have any hand or contrivance therein ; nor 
to be busybodies above our station, much less to 
plot and contrive the ruin or overturn of any of 
them, but to pray for the king and safety of our 
nation and good of all men ; that we may lead a 
peaceable and quiet life in all goodness and hon- 
esty, under the government which God is pleased 
to set over us. May we, therefore, firmly unite 
in the abhorrence of all such writings and meas- 
ures as evidence a desire and design to break off 
a happy connection we have hitherto enjoyed with 
the kingdom of Great Britain, and our just and 
necessary subordination to the king and those who 
are lawfully placed in authority under him." This 
view of the case soon met with a pithy rejoinder 
from Samuel Adams, who, with a quaint use of 
historical examples, proved that, as the rise of 
kings and empires is part of God's special pre- 
rogative, the time had now come, in the course of 
divine providence, for the setting up of an inde- 
pendent empire in the western hemisphere. Six 
months ago, the provincial assembly had instructed 
its delegates to oppose independence ; but on the 
20th of May a great meeting was held at the State 
House, at which more than seven thousand people 
were present, and it was unanimously resolved 
that this act of the assembly " had the dangerous 



INDEPENDENCE. 187 

tendency to withdraw this province from that 
happy union with the other colonies which we 
consider both our glory and our protection." The 
effect of this resolution was so great that on the 
18th of June a convention was held to decide on 
the question of independence ; and after six days 
of discussion, it was voted that a separation from 
Great Britain was desirable, provided only that, 
under the new federal government, each state 
should be left to regulate its own internal affairs. 
On the 14th of June, a similar action had been 
taken by Delaware. 

In Maryland there was little reason why the 
people should wish for a change of government, 
save through their honourable sympathy with the 
general interests of the United Colonies. Not 
only was the proprietary government deeply rooted 
in the affections of the people, but Robert Eden, 
the governor holding office at this particular time, 
was greatly loved and respected. Maryland had 
not been insulted by the presence of 

m i i T Maryland. 

troops, one had not seen her citizens 
shot down in cold blood like Massachusetts, or her 
chief city laid in ashes like Virginia ; nor had she 
been threatened with invasion and forced to fight 
in her own defence like North Carolina. Her di- 
rect grievances were few and light, and even so 
late as the 21st of May, she had protested against 
any action which might lead to the separation of 
the colonies from England. But when, in June, 
her great leaders, Samuel Chase and Charles Car- 
roll of Carrollton, determined to " take the sense 
of the people," a series of county meetings were 



188 THE AMEEICAN DEVOLUTION. 

held, and it was unanimously voted that " tlie true 
interests and substantial happiness of the United 
Colonies in general, and this in particular, are 
inseparably interwoven and linked together." As 
soon as the colony had taken its stand upon this 
broad and generous principle, the governor em- 
barked on a British man-of-war before Annapolis, 
bearing with him the kindly regrets and adieus of 
the people, and on the 28th of June the delegates 
in Congress were duly authorized to concur in a 
declaration of independence. 

Peaceful Maryland was thus the twelfth colony 
which formally committed itself to the cause of in- 
dependence, as turbulent North Carolina, under 
tie stimulus of civil war and threatened invasion, 
had been the first. Accordingly on the 1st of 
July, the day when the motion of Eichard Henry 
Lee was to be taken up in Congress, unanimous 
instructions in favour of independence had been re- 
ceived from every one of the colonies, except New 
The Cation York. In approaching this momentous 
in New York. question ]sj ew York was beset by peculiar 
difficulties. Not only was the Tory party unusually 
strong there, for reasons already stated, but the 
risks involved in a revolutionary policy were greater 
than anywhere else. From its commanding mil- 
itary position, it was clear that the British would 
direct their main efforts toward the conquest of this 
central colony ; and while on the one hand the 
broad, deep waters about Manhattan Island 
afforded an easy entrance for their resistless fleet, 
on the other hand the failure of the Canadian ex- 
pedition had laid the whole country open t(> I 



INDEPENDENCE. 189 

slon from the north, and tlie bloodthirsty warriors 
of the Long House were not likely to let slip 
so excellent an opportunity for gathering scalps 
from the exposed settlements on the frontier. Not 
only was it probable, for these reasons, that New 
York would suffer more than any other colony 
from the worst horrors of war, but as a commercial 
state with only a single seaport, the very sources 
of her life would be threatened should the British 
once gain a foothold upon Manhattan Island. The 
fleet of Lord Howe was daily expected in the har- 
bour, and it was known that the army which had 
been ousted from Bostoa, now largely reinforced, 
was on its way from Halifax to undertake the cap- 
ture of the city of New York. To guard against 
this expected danger, "Washington had some weeks 
since moved his army thither from Boston ; but 
his whole effective force did not exceed eight thou- 
sand men, and with these he was obliged to garri- 
son points so far apart as King's Bridge, Paulus 
Hook, Governor's Island, and Brooklyn Heights. 
The position was far less secure than it had been 
about Boston, for British ships could here come up 
the Hudson and East rivers, and interpose between 
these isolated detachments. As for Staten Island, 
Washington had not troops enough to occupy it 
at all, so that when General Howe arrived, on the 
28th of June, he was allowed to land there without 
opposition. It was a bitter thing for Washington 
to be obliged to permit this, but there was no help 
for it. Not only in numbers, but in equipment, 
Washington's force was utterly inadequate to the 
important task assigned it, and Congress had done 



190 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

nothing to increase Its efficiency beyond ordering 
a levy of twenty-five thousand militia from New 
England and the middle colonies, to serve for six 
months only. 

Under these circumstances, the military outlook, 
in case the war were to go on, was certainly not 
encouraging, and the people of New York might 
well be excused for some tardiness in committing 
themselves irrevocably on the question of indepen- 
dence, especially as it was generally understood that 
Lord Howe was coming armed with plenary au- 
thority to negotiate with the American people. To 
all the other dangers of the situation 
plot, June, there was added that of treachery in the 
camp. Governor Tryon, like so many 
of the royal governors that year, had taken refuge 
on shipboard, whence he schemed and plotted with 
his friends on shore. A plan was devised for blow- 
ing up the magazines and seizing Washington, who 
was either to be murdered or carried on board ship 
to be tried for treason, according as the occasion 
might suggest. The conspiracy was discovered in 
good time ; the mayor of New York, convicted of 
correspondence with Tryon, was thrown into jail, 
and one of Washington's own guard, who had 
been bribed to aid the nefarious scheme, was sum- 
marily hanged in a field near the Bowery. Such 
a discovery as this served to throw discredit upon 
the Tory party. The patriots took a bolder stand 
than ever, but when the 1st of July came it found 
the discussion still going on, and the New York 
delegates in Congress were still without instruc- 
tions. 



INDEPENDENCE. 191 

On the 1st of July Congress resolved Itself Into 
a committee of the whole, to " take into considera- 
tion the resolution respecting- independency.'* As 
Eichard Henry Lee was absent, John Adams, who 
had seconded the motion, was called upon to de- 
fend it, which he did in a powerful speech. He 
was ahly opposed by John Dickinson, who urged 
that the country ought not to be rashly committed 
to a position, to recede from which would be infa- 
mous, while to persist in it might entail 

f , , - I - ! Finaldebate 

certain ruin. A declaration of mdepen- on Lee's 
dence would not strengthen the resources 
of the country by a single regiment or a single cask 
of powder, while it would shut the door upon all 
hope of accommodation with Great Britain. And 
as to the prospect of an alliance with France and 
Spain, would it not be well to obtain some definite 
assurances from these powers before proceeding to 
extremities? Besides all this, argued Dickinson, 
the terms of confederation among the colonies were 
still unsettled, and any declaration of indepen- 
dence, to have due weight with the world, ought to 
be preceded by the establishment of a federal gov- 
ernment. The boundaries of the several colonies 
ought first to be fixed, and their respective rights 
mutually guaranteed ; and the public lands ought 
also to be solemnly appropriated for the common 
benefit Then, the orator concluded, " when things 
shall have been thus deliberately rendered firm at 
home and favourable abroad, then let America, 
attollens Tiumeris famam etfata nepotum^ bearing 
up her glory and the destiny of her descendants, 
advance with majestic steps, and assume her station 
among the sovereigns of the world." 



192 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

That there was great weight in some of these 
considerations was shown only too plainly by sub- 
sequent events. But the argument as a whole was 
open to the fatal objection that if the American 
people were to wait for all these great questions to 
he settled before taking a decisive step, they would 
never be able to take a decisive step at all. The 
wise statesman regards half a loaf as better than 
BO bread. Independent action on the part of all 
the colonies except New York had now become an 
accomplished fact. AH were really in rebellion, 
and their cause could not fail to gain in dignity 
and strength by announcing itself to the world in 
its true character. Such was now the general feel- 
ing of the committee. When the question was 
put to vote, the New York delegates were excused, 
as they had no sufficient instructions. Of the three 
delegates from Delaware, one was absent, one voted 
yea, and one nay, so that the vote of the colony 
Tote on Lee's was lost. Pennsylvania declared in the 
motion. negative by four votes against three. 
South Carolina also declared in the negative, but 
with the intimation from Edward Rutledge that it 
might not unlikely reverse its vote, in deference to 
the majority. The other nine colonies all voted in 
the affirmative, and the resolution was reported as 
agreed to by a two thirds vote. On the next day, 
when the vote was formally taken in regular ses- 
sion of Congress, the Delaware members were all 
present, and the affirmative vote of that colony was 
secured ; Dickinson and Morris stayed away, thus 
reversing the vote of Pennsylvania ; and the South 
Carolina members changed for the sake of unan- 
unity. 



INDEPENDENCE. 193 

Thus was the Declaration of Independence at 
last resolved upon, by the unanimous vote of 
twelve colonies, on the 2d of July, 1776 ; and this 
work having been done, Congress at once went 
into committee of the whole, to consider the form 
of declaration which should be adopted. That no 
time might be lost in disposing of this important 
matter, a committee had already been selected 
three weeks before, at the time of Lee's motion, 
to draw up a paper which might be worthy of this 
great and solemn occasion. Thomas Jefferson, 
John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sher- 
man, and Robert Livingston were the members of 
the committee, and Jefferson, as representing the 
colony which had introduced the resolution of in- 
dependence, was chosen to be the author of the 
Declaration. Jefferson, then but thirty-three years 
of age, was one of the youngest delegates in Con- 
gress ; but of all the men of that time, there was, 
perhaps, none of wider culture or keener political 
instincts. Inheriting a comfortable for- Thomasjeffer , 
tune, he had chosen the law as his pro- son - 
f ession, but he had always been passionately fond 
of study for its own sake, and to a very wide read- 
ing in history and in ancient and modern literature 
he added no mean proficiency in mathematics and in 
physical science. He was skilled in horsemanship 
and other manlv exercises, and in the management 
of rural affairs ; while at the same time he was 
very sensitively and delicately organized, playing 
the violin like a master, and giving other evidences 
of rare musical talent. His temper was exceed- 
ingly placid, and his disposition was sweet and 



194 THE AMBKICAN REVOLUTION. 

sympathetic. He was deeply interested in all the 
generous theories of the eighteenth century con- 
cerning the rights of man and the perfectibility 
of human nature ; and, like most of the contem- 
porary philosophers whom he admired, he was a 
sturdy foe to intolerance and priestcraft. He was 
In his way a much more profound thinker than 
Hamilton, though he had not such a constructive 
genius as the latter ; as a political leader he was 
superior to any other man of his age ; and his warm 
sympathies, his almost feminine tact, his mastery 
of the dominant political ideas of the time, and, 
above all, his unbounded faith in the common sense 
of the people and in their essential rectitude of 
purpose served to give him one of the greatest and 
most commanding positions ever held by any per- 
sonage in American history. 

On the evening of the 4th of July, 1776, the 
Declaration of Independence was unanimously 
adopted by twelve colonies, the delegation from 
New York still remaining unable to act. But 
the acquiescence of that colony was so generally 
counted upon that there was no drawback to the 
exultation of the people. All over the 

Independence .1 TV -i -i 

declared, July country the Declaration was received 
with bonfires, with the ringing of bells 
and the firing of guns, and with torchlight pro- 
cessions. Now that the great question was settled 
there was a general feeling of relief. " The 
people/' said Samuel Adams, " seem to recognize 
this resolution as though it were a decree pro- 
mulgated from heaven.' 7 On the 9fch of July it 
was formally adopted by New Tork, and the sot 



INDEPENDENCE. 195 

diers there celebrated the occasion by throwing 
down the leaden statue of George III. on the Bowl- 
ing Green, and casting it into bullets. 

Thus, after eleven years of irritation, and after 
such temperate discussion as befitted a free people, 
the Americans had at last entered upon the only 
course that could preserve their self-respect, and 
guarantee them in the great part which they had to 
play in the drama of civilization. For 
the dignity, patience, and moderation tio 
with which they had borne themselves pr 
throughout these trying times, history of th 
had as yet scarcely afforded a parallel. caupeople * 
So extreme had been their forbearance, so great 
their unwillingness to appeal to brute force while 
there yet remained the slightest hope of a peaceful 
solution, that some British historians have gone 
quite astray in interpreting their conduct. Be- 
cause statesmen like Dickinson and communities 
like Maryland were slow in believing that the right 
moment for a declaration of independence had 
come, the preposterous theory has been suggested 
that the American Revolution was the work of 
an unscrupulous and desperate minority, which, 
through intrigue mingled with violence, succeeded 
in forcing the reluctant majority to sanction its 
measures. Such a misconception has its root in 
an utter failure to comprehend the peculiar char- 
acter of American political life, like the kindred 
misconception which ascribes the rebellion of the 
colonies to a sordid unwillingness to bear their 
due share of the expenses of the British Empire. 
It is like the misunderstanding which saw an an- 



196 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

gry mob in every town-meeting of the people of 
Boston, and characterized as a "riot" every de- 
liberate expression of public opinion. No one who 
is familiar with the essential features of American 
political life can for a moment suppose that the 
Declaration of Independence was brought about 
by any less weighty force than the settled convic- 
tion of the people that the priceless treasure ot 
self-government could be preserved by no other 
means. It was but slowly that this unwelcome 
conviction grew upon the people ; and owing to 
local differences of circumstances it grew more 
slowly in some places than in others. Prescient 
leaders, too, like the Adamses and Franklin and 
Lee, made up their minds sooner than other peo- 
ple. Even those conservatives who resisted to 
the last, even such men as John Dickinson and 
Eobert Morris, were fully agreed with their op- 
ponents as to the principle at issue between Great 
Britain and America, and nothing would have 
satisfied them short of the total abandonment by 
Great Britain of her pretensions to impose taxes 
and revoke charters. Upon this fundamental point 
there was very little difference of opinion in 
America. As to the related question of indepen- 
dence, the decision, when once reached, was every- 
where alike the reasonable result of free and open 
discussion ; and the best possible illustration of this 
is the fact that not even in the darkest days of the 
war already begun did any state deliberately pro- 
pose to reconsider its action in the matter. The 
hand once put to the plough, there was no turning 
back. As Judge Drayton of South Carolina said 



INDEPENDENCE. 197 

from tlie bench, " A decree is now gone forth not 
to be recalled, and thus has suddenly risen in the 
world a new empire, styled the United States of 
America." 



CHAPTER V. 

MKST BLOW AT THE CENTRE, 

THROUGHOUT a considerable portion of the 
country the news of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence was accompanied by the news of a brilliant 
success at the South. After the defeat of Mac- 
donald at Moore's Creek, and the sudden arming 
of North Carolina, Clinton did not venture to 
land, but cruised about in the neighbourhood, await- 
ing the arrival of Sir Peter Parker's squadron 
from Ireland. Harassed by violent and contrary 
winds, Parker was three months in making the 
voyage, and it was not until May that he arrived, 
ai- Bringing with him Lord Cornwallis. 
^- s North Carolina had given such un- 
mistakable evidence of its real temper, 
it was decided not to land upon that coast for the 
present, but to go South and capture Charleston 
and Savannah. Lord William Campbell, refugee 
governor of South Carolina, urged that there was 
a great loyalist party in that colony, which would 
declare itself as soon as the chief city should be 
in the hands of the king's troops. That there 
would be any serious difficulty in taking Charles- 
ton occurred to no one. But Colonel Moultrie 
tad thrown up on Sullivan's Island, commanding 
the harbour, a, fortress of palmetto logs strength- 



FIRST BLOW AT TEE CENTRE. 199 

ened by heavy banks of sand, and now held it with 
a force of twelve hundred men, while five thousand 
militia were gathered about the town, under com- 
mand of General Charles Lee, who had been sent 
down to meet the emergency, but did little more 
than to meddle and hinder. In his character of 
trained European officer, Lee laughed to scorn 
Moultrie's palmetto stronghold, and would have 
ordered him to abandon it, but that he was posi- 
tively overruled by Kutledge, president of the pro- 
vincial congress, who knew Moultrie and relied 
upon his sound judgment. The British command- 
ers, Clinton and Parker, wasted three weeks in 
discussing various plans of attack, while the Amer- 
icans, with spade and hatchet, were rapidly barring 
every approach to Charleston, and fresh regiments 
came pouring in to man the new-built intreneh- 
ments. At last Clinton landed three 
thousand men on a naked sand-bank, iSuiwe, Fort 
divided from Sullivan's Island by a June28 ' im 
short space of shallow sea, which he thought could 
be forded, at low tide. At the proper time Sir 
Peter Parker was to open a lively fire from the 
fleet, which it was expected would knock down 
the fort in a few minutes, while Clinton, fording 
the shoals, would drive out the Americans at the 
point of the bayonet. The shoals, however, turned 
out to be seven feet deep at low water, and the 
task of the infantry was reduced to a desperate con- 
flict with the swarms of mosquitoes, which nearly 
drove them frantic. The battle thus became a 
mere artillery duel between the fort and the fleet. 
The British fire was rapid and furious, "but inef- 



200 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

fective. Most of the shot passed harmlessly over 
the low fortress, and those which struck did no 
harm to its elastic structure. The American fire 
was yery slow, and few shots were wasted. The 
cable of Parker's flagship was cut by a well-aimed 
ball, and the ship, swinging around, received a 
raking fire which swept her deck with terrible 
slaughter. After the fight had lasted ten hours, 
the British retreated out of range. The palmetto 
fort had suffered no serious injury, and only one 
gua had been silenced. The American loss in 
killed and wounded was thirty-seven. On the 
other hand, Sir Peter's flagship had lost her main- 
mast and mizzen-mast, and had some twenty shots 
in her hull, so that she was little better than a 
wreck. The British loss in killed and wounded 
was two hundred and five. Of their ten sail, only 
one frigate remained seaworthy at the close of the 
action. After waiting three weeks to refit, the 
whole expedition sailed away for New York to 
cooperate with the Howes. Charleston was saved, 
and for more than ^wo years the southern states 
were freed from the xnvader. In commemoration 
of this brilliant victory, and of the novel strong- 
hold which had so roused the mirth of the Euro- 
pean soldier of fortune, the outpost on Sullivan's 
Island has ever since been known by the name of 
Fort Moultrie. 

It was with such tidings of good omen that the 
Declaration of Independence was sent forth to the 
world. But it was the last news of victory that 
for tie next six months was to cheer the anxious 
statesmen assembled at Philadelphia. During the 



FIRST SLOW AT THE CENTRE. 201 

rest of the summer and the autumn, disaster fol- 
lowed upon disaster, until it might well seem as if 
fickle fortune had ceased to smile upon the cause 
of liberty. The issue of the contest was now cen- 
tred in New York. By conquering ^ 

4/10 British plan 

and holding the line of the Hudson for conquering 

the Hudson, 

river, the British hoped to cut the and cutting 

' . . the United 

United Colonies in two, after which it Colonies in 

\ f twain. 

was thought that Virginia and .New 
England, isolated from each other, might be in- 
duced to consider the error of their ways and re- 
pent. Accordingly, General Howe was to capture 
the city of New York, while General Carleton was 
to descend from Canada, recapture Ticonderoga, 
and take possession of the upper waters of the 
Hudson, together with the Mohawk valley. Great 
hopes were built upon the cooperation of the loyal- 
ists, of whom there was a greater number in New 
York than in any other state, except perhaps 
South Carolina. It was partly for this reason, as 
we shall hereafter see, that these two states suf- 
fered more actual misery from the war than all 
the others put together. The horrors of civil war 
were to be added to the attack of the invader. 
Throughout the Mohawk valley the influence of 
Sir John Johnson, the Tory son of the famous 
baronet of the Seven Years' War, was thought to 
be supreme ; and it turned out to be very power- 
ful both with the white population and with the 
Indians. At the other end of the line, in New 
York city, the Tory element was strong, for rea- 
sons already set forth. On Long Island, the 
people of Kings and Queens counties, of Dutch 



202 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

descent, were Tories almost to a man, while the 
English population of Suffolk was solidly in fa- 
vour of independence. And this instance of Long 
Island was typical. From one end of the United 
States to the other, as might have been expected, 
the Tory sentiment was strongest with the non- 
English element in the population. 

Before beginning his attack on New York, Gen- 
eral Howe had to await the arrival of his brother ; 
for the ministry had resolved to try the effect of 
what seemed to them a " conciliatory policy." On 
the 12th of July Lord Howe arrived at Staten Is- 
land, bringing with him the " olive-branch " which 
Lord North had promised to send along with the 
sword. This curious specimen of political botany 
turned out to consist of a gracious declaration that 
all persons who should desist from rebellion and 
lend their " aid in restoring tranquillity " would 
receive full and free pardon from their sovereign 

lord Howe's ^ Or< ^ *^ e ^ing. -^ S ^ WOuld not do to 

recognize the existence of Congress, 
Lord Howe inclosed this declaration in 
daily. a i e tter addressed to " George Washing- 

ton, Esq.," and sent it up the harbour with a flag 
of truce. But as George Washington, in his ca- 
pacity of Virginian landholder and American citi- 
zen, had no authority for dealing with a royal 
commissioner, he refused to receive the letter. 
Colonel Eeed informed Lord Howe's messenger 
that there was no person in the army with that ad- 
dress. The British officer relactantly rowed away, 
but suddenly, putting his barge about, he came back 
and inquired by what title Washington should be 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 208 

properly addressed. Colonel Eeed replied, " You 
are aware, sir, of the rank of General Washington 
in our army ? " " Yes, sir, we are," answered the 
officer ; " I am sure my Lord Howe will lament 
exceedingly this affair, as the letter is of a civil, 
and not of a military nature. He greatly laments 
that he was not here a little sooner." This re- 
mark was understood by Colonel Reed to refer to 
the Declaration of Independence, which was then 
but eight days old. A week later Lord Howe 
sent Colonel Patterson, the British adjutant-gen- 
eral, *with a document now addressed to " George 
Washington, Esq., etc., etc." Colonel Patterson 
begged for a personal interview, which was granted. 
He was introduced to Washington, whom he de- 
scribes as a gentleman of magnificent presence and 
very handsomely dressed. Somewhat overawed, 
and beginning his remarks with " May it please 
your Excellency," Patterson explained that the 
etceteras on the letter meant everything. " In- 
deed," said Washington, with a pleasant smile, 
" they might mean anything." He declined to 
take the letter, but listened to Patterson's expla- 
nations, and then replied that he was not author- 
ized to deal with the matter, and could not give 
his lordship any encouragement, as he seemed 
empowered only to grant pardons, whereas those 
who had committed no fault needed no pardons. 
As Patterson got up to go, he asked if his Excel- 
lency had no message to send to Lord Howe. 
"Nothing," answered Washington, "but my par- 
ticular compliments." Thus foiled in his attempt 
to negotiate with the American commander, Lord 



204 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Howe next inclosed Ms declaration in a circular 
letter addressed to the royal governors of the mid- 
dle and southern colonies ; but as most of these 
dignitaries were either in jail or on board the Brit- 
ish fleet, not much was to be expected from such 
a mode of publication. The precious document 
was captured and sent to Congress, which deri- 
sively published it for the amusement and instruc- 
tion of the people. It was everywhere greeted 
with jeers. " No doubt we all need pardon from 
Heaven," said Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, 
"for our manifold sins and transgressions; but 
the American who needs the pardon of his Britan- 
nic Majesty is yet to be found." The only serious 
effect produced was the weakening of the loyalist 
party. Many who had thus far been held back 
Tby the hope that Lord Howe's intercession might 
settle all the difficulties now came forward as 
warm supporters of independence as soon as it 
became apparent that the king had really nothing 
to offer. 

The olive-branch having proved ineffectual, 

nothing was left but to unsheathe the sword, and 

an interesting campaign now began, of which the 

. . primary object was to capture the city 

problem at of New York and compel Washins:- 

JSewYork. i rrn Th 

ton s army to surrender. The British. 
army was heavily reinforced by the return of Clin- 
ton's expedition and the arrival of 11,000 fresh, 
troops from England and Germany. General 
Howe had now more than 25,000 men at his dis- 
posal, fully equipped and disciplined ; while to 
oppose him Washington had but 18,000, many of 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRK 205 

tliem raw levies which liad just come In. If the 
American army had consisted of such veterans as 
Washington afterwards led at Monmouth, the dis- 
parity of numbers would still have told powerfully 
in favour of the British. As it was, in view of 
the crudeness of his material, Washington could 
hardly hope to do more with his army than to 
make it play the part of a detaining force. To 
keep the field in the face of overwhelming odds Is 
one of the most arduous of military problems, and 
often calls for a higher order of intelligence than 
that which is displayed in the mere winning of bat- 
tles. Upon this problem Washington was now to 
be employed for six months without respite, and It 
was not long before he gave evidence of military 
genius such as has seldom been surpassed in the 
history of modern warfare. At the outset the city 
of New York furnished the kernel of the problem. 
Without control of the water it would be well-nigh 
impossible to hold the city. Still there was a 
chance, and it was the part of a good general to 
take this chance, and cut out as much work as 
possible for the enemy. The shore of Manhattan 
Island was girded with small forts and redoubts, 
which Lee had erected in the spring before his de- 
parture for South Carolina. The lower end of the 
island, along the line of Wall Street, was then but 
little more than half its present width, as several 
lines of street have since been added upon both 
sides. From Cortlandt Street across to Paulus 
Hook, the width of the Hudson river was not less 
than two miles, while the East river near Fulton 
Ferry was nearly a mile in width. The city 



206 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION, 

readied only from the Battery as far as Chatham 
Street, whence the Bowery Lane ran northwest- 
wardly to Bloomingdale through a country smiling 
with orchards and gardens. Many of the streets 
were now barricaded, and a strong line of redoubts 
ran across from river to river below the side of 
Canal Street. At the upper end of the island, 
and on the Jersey shore, were other fortresses, 
with which we shall shortly have to deal, and out 
in the harbour, as a sort of watch-tower from which 
to inspect the enemy's fleet, a redoubt had been 
raised on Governor's Island, and was commanded 
by Colonel Prescott, with a party of the men of 
Bunker Hill. 

In order to garrison such various positions, it 
was necessary for Washington to scatter his 18,000 
men ; and this added much to the difficulty of his 
task, for Howe could at any moment strike at al- 
most any one of these points with his whole force. 
From the nature of the case the immense advan- 
tage of the initiative belonged entirely to Howe. 
But in one quarter, the most important of all, 
Washington had effected as much concentration of 
^ f his troops as was possible. The position 

Importance of * -r-r 

Brooklyn on Brooklyn Heights was dangerously 
exposed, but it was absolutely necessary 
for the Americans to occupy it if they were to keep 
their hold upon New York. This eminence com- 
manded JTew York exactly as Bunker Hill and 
Dorchester Heights commanded Boston. Greene 
tad, accordingly, spent the summer in fortifying 
at, and there 9,000 men one half of the army 
were now concentrated under command of Putnam* 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 20T 

Upon this exposed position General Howe deter- 
mined to throw nearly the whole of his force. He 
felt confident that the capture or destruction of 
half the American army would so discourage the 
rebels as to make them lend a readier ear to the 
overtures of that excellent peacemaker, his brother* 
Accordingly, on the 22d of August, General Howe 
landed 20,000 men at Gravesend Bay. From this 
point the American position was approachable by 
four roads, two of which crossed a range of densely 
wooded hills, and continued through the villages 
of Bedford and Flatbush. To the left of these the 
Gowanus road followed the shore about the west- 
ern base of the hills, while on the right the Ja- 
maica road curved inland and turned their eastern 
base. 

The elaborate caution with which the British 
commander now proceeded stands out in striking 
contrast with the temerity of Ms advance upon 
Bunker Hill in the preceding year. He spent four 
days in reconnoitring, and then he sent his brother, 
with part of the fleet, to make a feint upon New 
York, and occupy Washington's attention. Be- 
fore daybreak of the 27th, under the cover of this 
feint, the British advance had been nearly com- 
pleted. General Grant, with the Highland regi- 
ments, advanced along the coast road, where the 
American outposts were held by William Alexan- 
der of New Jersey, commonly known as 

T -I n T / i -i n i Battle of Iiong 

JLord otirlmg, irom a lapsed ocotcn island, Aug. 
earldom to which he had claimed the 
title. The Hessians, under General von Heister, 
proceeded along the Bedford and Hatbush roads, 



208 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

winch were defended by Sullivan i while more than 
half of the army, under Howe In person, accompa- 
nied by Clinton, Percy, and CornwaUis, accom- 
plished a long night march by the Jamaica road, 
in order to take the Americans in flank. This 
long flanking march was completed in perfect se- 
crecy because the people of the neighbourhood were 
in sympathy with the British, and it encountered 
no obstacles because the American force was sim- 
ply incapable of covering so much territory. The 
divisions of Stirling and Sullivan contained the 
5,000 men which were all that Putnam could af- 
ford to send forward from his works. A patrol 
which watched the Jamaica road was captured 
early in the morning, but it would not in any case 
have been possible to send any force there which 
could materially have hindered the British ad- 
vance. Overwhelming superiority in numbers en- 
abled the British to go where they pleased, and 
the battle was already virtually won when they ap- 
peared on the Jamaica road in the rear of the vil- 
lage of Bedford. Scarcely had the fight begun on 
the crest of the hill between Sullivan and the Hes- 
sians in his front when he found himself assaulted 
in the rear. Thrown into confusion, and driven 
back and forth through the woods between two 
galling fires, his division was quickly routed, and 
nearly all were taken prisoners, including the gen- 
eral himself. On the coast road the fight between 
Stirling and Grant was the first in which Ameri- 
cans had ever met British troops in open field and 
in regular line of battle. Against the sturdy High- 
land regiments Stirling held his ground gallantly 



N E W Y R K B A Y ?// ' ' * / '" ***' * * '/ 

^ f )" ^'* x , 

v *' / V^*'". ., 



LO'NG I S f LA NO 



LOWER BAY 



BATTLE OF LONG ISLAND 
AUGUST 27, 1776 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CJE^TEK 209 

for four hours, until lie was in turn assaulted in 
the rear by Lord Cornwallis, after the rout of Sul- 
livan. It now became, with Stirling, simply a 
question of saving his division from capture, and 
after a desperate fight this end was accomplished, 
and the men got back to Brooklyn Heights, though 
the brave Stirling himself was taken prisoner. In 
this noble struggle the highest honours were won 
by the brigade of Maryland men commanded by 
Smallwood, and throughout the war we shall find 
this honourable distinction of Maryland for the 
personal gallantry of her troops fully maintained, 
until in the last pitched battle, at Eutaw Springs, 
we see them driving the finest infantry of England 
at the point of the bayonet. 

The defeat of Sullivan and Stirling enabled 
Howe to bring up his whole army in front of the 
works at Brooklyn Heights toward the close of the 
day. To complete the victory it would be neces- 
sary to storm these works, but Howe's men were 
tired with marching, if not with fighting, and so 
the incident known as the battle of Long Island 
came to an end. A swift ship was at once dis- 
patched to England with the news of the victory, 
which were somewhat highly coloured. It was for 
a while supposed that there had been a terrible 
slaughter, but careful research has shown that this 
was not the case. About 400 had been killed and 
wounded on each side, and this loss had been incurred 
mainly in the fight between Stirling and Grant. 
On other parts of the field the British triumph had 
consisted chiefly in the scooping up of prisoners, 
of whom at least 1,000 were taken. The stories of 



210 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

a wholesale bntcliery "by tlie Hessians which once 
were current have been completely disproved. 
"Washington gave a detailed account of the affair a 
few days afterward, and the most careful investi- 
gation has shown that he was correct in every par- 
ticular. But to the American public the blow was 
none the less terrible, while in England the exul- 
tation served as an offset to the chagrin felt after 
the loss of Boston and the defeat at Fort Moultrie, 
and it was naturally long before facts could be seen 
in their true proportions. 

Heavy as was the blow, however, General Howe's 
object was still but half attained. He had neither 
captured nor destroyed the American forces on 
Long Island, but had only driven them into their 
works. He was still confronted by 8,000 men on 
Brooklyn Heights, and the problem was how to 
dislodge them. In the evening Washington came 
over from New York, and made everything ready 
to resist a storm. To this end, on the next day, he 
brought over reinforcements, raising his total force 
within the works to 10,000 men. Under such cir- 
cumstances, if the British had attempted a storm 
they would probably have been repulsed with great 
slaughter. But Howe had not forgot- 
tobSilSftSe 8 ten Bunker Hill, and he thought it best 

Heights ; _ , . . 

to proceed by way or siege. As soon as 
Washington perceived this intention of his adver- 
sary, he saw that he must withdraw his army. He 
would have courted a storm, in which he was al- 
most sure to be victorious, but he shrank from a 
siege, in which he was quite sure to lose his whole 
force. The British troops now invested him in a 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 211 

semicircle, and their ships might at any moment 
close in behind and cut off his only retreat. Ac- 
cordingly, sending trusty messengers across the 
river, Washington collected every sloop, yacht, 
fishing-smack, yawl, scow, or row-boat that could 
be found in either water from the Battery to 
King's Bridge or Hell-Gate ; and after nightfall of 
the 29th, these craft were all assembled at the 
Brooklyn ferry, and wisely manned by the fisher- 
men of Marblehead and Gloucester 
from Glover's Essex regiment, experts, ton slips away 

rL 1 J.T_ j. with his army. 

every one of them, whether at oar or 
sail. All through the night the American troops 
were ferried across the broad river, as quietly as 
possible and in excellent order, while Washington 
superintended the details of the embarkation, and 
was himself the last man to leave the ground. At 
seven o'clock in the morning the whole American 
army had landed on the New York side, and had 
brought with them all their cannon, small arms, 
ammunition, tools, and horses, and all their larder 
besides, so that when the bewildered British 
climbed into the empty works they did not find so 
much as a biscuit or a glass of rum wherewith to 
console themselves. 

This retreat has always been regarded as one of 
the most brilliant incidents In Washington's career, 
and it would certainly be hard to find 

J . His vigilance 

a more striking example 01 vigilance, robbed the 
Had Washington allowed himself to be m< >8t golden 

opportunity 

cooped up on Brooklyn Heights he ^ fforded 

would have been forced to surrender; 

and whatever was left of the war would have been 



212 TEE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

a game played without queen, rook, or bishop, For 
this very reason it is hardly creditable to Howe that 
lie should have let his adversary get away so easily. 
At daybreak, indeed, the Americans had been re^ 
markably favoured by the sudden rise of a fog which 
covered the East river, but during the night the 
moon had shone brightly, and one can only won- 
der that the multitudinous plash of oars and the 
unavoidable murmur of ten thousand men embark- 
ing, with their heavy guns and stores, should not 
have attracted the attention of some wakeful senti- 
nel, either on shore or on the fleet. A storming 
party of British, at the right moment, would at 
least have disturbed the proceedings. So rare a 
chance of ending the war at a blow was never 
again to be offered to the British commanders. 
Washington now stationed the bulk of his army 
along the line of the Harlem river, leaving a 
strong detachment in the city under Putnam ; and 
presently, with the same extraordinary skill which 
he had just displayed in sending boats under the 
very eyes of the fleet, he withdrew Colonel Pres- 
cott and his troops from their exposed position on 
Governor's Island, which there was no longer any 
reason for holding. 

Hoping that the stroke just given by the British 
sword might have weakened the obstinacy of the 
Americans, Lord Howe again had recourse to the 
olive-branch. The captured General Sullivan was 
sent to Congress to hold out hopes that Lord Howe 
would use his influence to get all the obnoxious 
acts of Parliament repealed, only he would first like 
to confer with some of the members of Congress 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 213 

informally and as with mere private gentlemen. A 
lively debate ensued upon this proposal, in wMcli 
some saw an insult to Congress, while all quite 
needlessly suspected treachery. John Adams, 
about whom there was so much less of the suaviter 
in modo than of the fortiter in re, alluded to Sul- 
livan, quite unjustly, as a " decoy duck," who had 
better have been shot in the battle than The confer- 



employed on such a business. It was 
finally voted that no proposals of peace u * 
from Great Britain should receive notice, unless 
they should be conveyed in writing, and should ex- 
plicitly recognize Congress as the legal representa- 
tive of the American States. For this once, how- 
ever, out of personal regard for Lord Howe, and 
that nothing might be disdained which really 
looked toward a peaceful settlement, they would 
send a committee to Staten Island to confer with 
his lordship, who might regard this committee in 
whatever light he pleased. In this shrewd, half- 
humorous method of getting rid of the diplomatic 
difficulty, one is forcibly reminded of President 
Lincoln's famous proclamation addressed "To 
whom it may concern." The committee, consisting 
of Franklin, Kutledge, and John Adams, were 
hospitably entertained by Lord Howe, but their 
conference came to nothing, because the Americans 
now demanded a recognition of their independence 
as a condition which must precede all negotiation. 
There is no doubt that Lord Howe, who was a 
warm friend to the Americans and an energetic 
opponent of the king's policy, was bitterly grieved 
at this result. As a last resort he published a 



214 THE AMERICAN EJ3VOLUTION. 

proclamation announcing the Intention of the Brit 
ish government to reconsider the various acts and 
instructions by which the Americans had been an- 
noyed, and appealing to all right-minded people 
to decide for themselves whether it were not wise 
to rely on a solemn promise like this, rather than 
commit themselves to the- dangerous chances of am 
unequal and unrighteous war. 

Four days after this futile interview General 
Howe took possession of New York. After the 
loss of Brooklyn Heights, Washington and Greene 
Howe takes were a l rea( ij aware that the city could 
Yo e rk !t septf ew no ^ ^ e ^eld. Its capture was very 
15 ' ' easily effected. Several ships-of-the-line 

ascended the Hudson as far as Bloomingdale, and 
the East river as far as BlackwelTs Island ; and 
while thus from either side these vessels swept 
the northern part of Manhattan with a searching 
fire, General Howe brought his army across from 
Brooklyn in boats and landed at Kipp's Bay, near 
the present site of East Thirty-Fourth Street. 
Washington came promptly down, with two New- 
England brigades, to reinforce the . men whom he 
had stationed at that point, and to hinder the land- 
ing of the enemy until Putnam should have time 
to evacuate the city. To Washington's wrath and 
disgust, these men were seized with panic, and sud- 
denly turned and fled without firing "a shot. Had 
Howe now thrown his men promptly forward across 
the line of Thirty-Fourth Street, he would have 
eut off Putnam's retreat from the city. But what 
the New England brigades failed to do a bright 
woman succeeded in accomplishing. When Howe 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 215 

had readied the spot known as Murray Hill, - 
now the centre of much brownstone magnificence 
in Park and Madison and Fifth avenues, at that 
time a noble country farmstead, Mrs. Lindley 
Murray, mother of the famous grammarian, well 
knowing the easy temper of the British comman- 
der, sent out a servant to invite him to 
stop and take luncheon. A general halt 
was ordered ; and while Howe and his rison * 
officers were gracefully entertained for more than 
two hours by their accomplished and subtle hostess, 
Putnam hastily marched his 4,000 men up the 
shore of the Hudson, until, passing Bloomingdale, 
he touched the right wing of the main army, and 
was safe, though his tents, blankets, Attackllpon 
and heavy guns had been left behind. f^fiS s e t. 
The American lines now extended from 1G - 
the mouth of Harlem river across the island, and 
on the following day the British attempted to 
break through their centre at Harlem Heights ; 
but the attack was repulsed, with a loss of sixty 
Americans and three hundred British, and the 
lines just formed remained, with very little change, 
for nearly four weeks. 

General Howe had thus got possession of the 
city of New York, but the conquest availed him 
little so long as the American army stood across 
the island, in the attitude of blockading him. If 
this campaign was to decide the war, as the min- 
istry hoped, nothing short of the cap- 

J r ' TTT - Thenewprob- 

ture or dispersal of Washington s army iem before 

would suffice. But the problem was 

now much harder than it had been at Brooklyn, 



216 THE AMERICAN EEVQLJJTION. 

For as the land above Manhattan Island widens 
rapidly to the north and east, it would not be easy 
to hem Washington in by sending forces to his 
rear. As soon as he should find his position im- 
periled, he would possess the shorter line by which 
to draw his battalions together and force an es- 
cape, and so the event proved. Still, with Howe's 
superior force and with his fleet, if he could get 
up the Hudson to the rear of the American right, 
and at the same time land troops from the Sound 
in the rear of the American left, it was possible 
that Washington might be compelled to surrender. 
There was nothing to bar Howe's passage up the 
East river to the Sound ; but at the northern ex- 
tremity of Manhattan Island the ascent of the 
Hudson was guarded on the east by Fort Washing- 
ton, under command of Putnam, and on the west 
by Fort Lee, standing on the summit of the lofty 
cliffs known as the Palisades, and commanded by 
Greene* It was still doubtful, however, whether 
these two strongholds could effectually bar the as- 
cent of so broad a river, and for further security 
Putnam undertook to place obstructions in the 
bed of the stream itself. Both the Continental 
Congress and the State Convention of New York 
were extremely unwilling that these two fortresses 
should in any event be given up, for in no case 
must the Hudson river be abandoned. Putnam 
and Greene thought that the forts could be held, 
but by the 9th of October it was proved that they 
could not bar the passage of the river, for on that 
day two frigates ran safely between them, and 
captured some small American craft a short dis- 
tance above. 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTEE* 217 

TMs point haying been ascertained, General 
Howe, on the 12th, leaving Percy in command be- 
fore Harlem Heights, moved the greater part of 
his army nine miles up the East river 

. . Howe moves 

to Throsr s Neck, a peninsula in the uponThrog's 

- i -ill Neck, but 

Sound, separated from the mainland by Washington 

r changes base. 

a narrow creek and a marsh that was 
overflowed at high tide. By landing here sud 
denly, Howe hoped to get in Washington's rear 
and cut him off from his base of supply in Con- 
necticut. But Washington had foreseen the move 
and forestalled it. When Howe arrived at Throg's 
Neck, he found the bridge over the creek de- 
stroyed, and the main shore occupied by a force 
which it would be dangerous to try to dislodge by 
wading across the marsh. While Howe was thus 
detained six days on the peninsula Washington 
moved Ms base to White Plains, and concentrated 
his whole army at that point, abandoning every- 
thing on Manhattan Island except Fort Washing- 
ton. Sullivan, Stirling, and Morgan, who had just 
been exchanged, now rejoined the army, and Lee 
also arrived from South Carolina. 

By this movement to White Plains, Washing- 
ton had foiled Howe's attempt to get in his rear, 
and the British general decided to try Baffled at 
the effect of an attack in front. On S^gSt 
the 28th of October he succeeded in new P laa - 
storming an outpost at Chatterton Hill, losing 
229 lives, while the Americans lost 140. But this 
affair, which is sometimes known as the battle of 
White Plains, seems to have- discouraged Howe. 
Before renewing the attack he waited three days. 



218 TR$ AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 



thinking perhaps of Bunker Hill; and on the 
last night of October, Washington fell hack upon 
North Castle, where he took a position so strong 
that it was useless to think of assailing him. 
Howe then changed Ms plans entirely, and moved 
down the east bank of the Hudson to Dobb's 
Ferry, whence he could either attack Fort "Wash- 
ington or cross into New Jersey and advance upon 
Philadelphia, the " rebel capital." The purpose 
of this change was to entice Washington from his 
unassailable position. 

To meet this new movement, Washington threw 
his advance of 5,000 men, under Putnam, into New 
Jersey, where they encamped near Hackensack; 
he sent Heath up to Peekskill, with 3,000 men, to 
guard the entrance to the Highlands ; and he left 
Lee at North Castle, with 7,000 men, and ordered 
him to cooperate with him promptly in whatever 
direction, as soon as the nature of Howe's plans 
should become apparent. As Forts "Washington 
and Lee detained a large force in garrison, while 
Washington's ^J ^ a ^ shown themselves unable to 
StE? mS! w prevent ships from passing up the river, 
**"* there was no longer any use in holding 

them. Nay, they had now become dangerous, as 
traps in which the garrisons and stores might be 
suddenly surrounded and captured. Washington 
accordingly resolved to evacuate them both, while, 
to allay the fears of Congress in the event of a 
descent from Canada, he ordered Heath to fortify 
the much more important position at West Point. 

Had Washington's orders been obeyed and his 
plans carried out, history might still have recorded 







OPERATIONS IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY 
'77*5-77 



FIEST BLOW AT THE CENTEE: 219 

a retreat through. " the Jerseys," but how different 
a retreat from that which was now 

Congress med- 

aoout to take place ! The officious in- d l es th th ! 

* situation and 

terference of Congress, a venial error muddles ifc - 
of judgment on the part of Greene, and gross in- 
subordination on the part of Lee, occurring all to- 
gether at this critical moment, brought about the 
greatest disaster of the war, and came within an 
ace of overwhelming the American cause in total 
and irretrievable ruin. Washington instructed 
Greene, who now commanded both fortresses, to 
withdraw the garrison and stores from Fort Wash' 
ington, and to make arrangements for evacuating 
Fort Lee also. At the same time he did not give 
a positive order, but left the matter somewhat 
within Greene's discretion, in case military cir- 
cumstances of an unforeseen kind should arise. 
Then, while Washington had gone up to recon- 
noitre the site for the new fortress at West Point, 
there came a special order from Congress that 
Fort Washington should not be abandoned save 
under direst extremity. If Greene had thoroughly 
grasped Washington's view of the case, he would 
have disregarded this conditional order, for there 
could hardly be a worse extremity than that 
which the sudden capture of the fortress would 
entail. But Greene's mind was not quite clear; 
he believed that the fort could be held, and he did 
not like to take the responsibility of disregarding 
a message from Congress. In this dilemma lie did 
the worst thing possible : he reinforced the doomed 
garrison, and awaited Washington's return. 



220 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

When tlie commander-in-chief returned, on tibe 
14th, he learned with dismay that nothing had 
been done. But It was now too late to mend mat- 
ters, for that very night several British vessels 
passed up between the forts, and the next day 
Howe appeared before Fort Washington with an 
overwhelming force, and told Colonel Magaw, the 
officer in charge, that if he did not immediately 
surrender the whole garrison would be pnt to the 
sword. Magaw replied that if Howe wanted his 
fort he must come and take it. On the 16th, 
a fter a sharp struggle, in which the 
f Americans fought with desperate* gal- 
Nov * 16 - lantry, though they were outnumbered 
more than five to one, the works were carried, and 
jhe whole garrison was captured. The victory cost 
the British more than 500 men in killed and 
wounded. The Americans, fighting behind theii* 
works, lost but 150 ; but they surrendered 3,000 of 
the best troops in their half -trained army, together 
with an immense quantity of artillery and small 
arms. It was not in General Howe's kindly nature 
to carry out his savage threat of the day before ; 
but some of the Hessians, maddened with the stub- 
born resistance they had encountered, began mur- 
dering their prisoners in cold blood, until they were 
sharply called to order. From Fort Lee, on the 
opposite bank of the river, Washington surveyed 
this wof ul surrender with his usual iron composure ; 
but when it came to seeing his brave men thrown 
down and stabbed to death by the Hessian bay- 
onets, his overwrought heart could bear it no 
longer, and he cried and sobbed like a child. 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 221 

TMs capture of the garrison of Fort Washing- 
ton was one of the most crushing blows that be- 
fell the American arms during the whole course of 
the war. Washington's campaign seemed now likely 
to be converted into a mere flight, and a terrible 
gloom overspread the whole country. The disas- 
ter was primarily due to the interference of Con- 
gress. It might have been averted by Washington 
prompt and decisive action on the part an <*<^eene. 
of Greene. But Washington, whose clear judg- 
ment made due allowance for alHhe circumstances, 
never for a moment cast any blame upon his sub- 
ordinate. The lesson was never forgotten by 
Greene, whose intelligence was of that high order 
which may indeed make a first mistake, but never 
makes a second. The friendship between the two 
generals became warmer than ever. Washington, 
by a sympathetic instinct, had divined from the 
outset the military genius that was by and by to 
prove scarcely inferior to his own. 

Yet worse remained behind. Washington had 
but 6,000 men on the Jersey side of the river, and 
it was now high time for Lee to come over from 
North Castle and join him, with the force of 7,000 
that had been left under his command. On the 
17th, Washington sent a positive order for him to 
cross the river at once; but Lee dis- 
sembled, pretended to regard the order conduct of 

XT, v ifj. 7 j j. J CkarlcsLee, 

in the light of mere advice, and stayed 
"where he was. He occupied an impregnable posL 
tion .- why should he leave it, and imperil a force 
with which he might accomplish something memo- 
rable on his own account? By the resignation of 



222 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

General Ward, Lee had become tie senior major- 
general of the Continental army, and in the event 
of disaster to Washington he would almost cer- 
tainly become commander-in-chief. He had re- 
turned from South Carolina more arrogant and 
loud-voiced than ever. The northern people knew 
little of Moultrie, while they supposed Lee to be a 
great military light ; and the charlatan accordingly 
got the whole credit of the victory, which, if his 
precious advice had been taken, would never have 
been won. Lee was called the hero of Charleston? 
and people began to contrast the victory of Sulli" 
van's Island with the recent defeats, and to draw 
conclusions very disparaging to "Washington. From 
the beginning Lee had felt personally aggrieved at 
not being appointed to the chief command, and 
now he seemed to see a fair chance of ruining his 
hated rival. Should he conie to the head of the 
army in a moment of dire disaster to the Ameri- 
cans, it would be so much the better, for it would 
be likely to open negotiations with Lord Howe* 
and Lee loved to chaffer and intrigue much better 
than to fight. So he spent his time in endeavour- 
ing, by insidious letters and lying whispers, to 
nourish the feeling of disaffection toward Wash- 
ington, while he refused to send a single regiment 
to his assistance. Thus, through the villainy of 
this traitor in the camp, Washington actually lost 
more men, so far as their present use was con- 
cerned at this most critical moment, than he had 
been deprived of by all the blows which the en- 
emy had dealt him since the beginning of the cam* 
paign. 



FIRST BLOW AT THE GEN TEE. 223 

On the night of the 19th, Howe threw 5,000 men 
across the river, about five miles above Fort Lee, 
and with this force Lord Cornwallis marched rap- 
idly down upon that stronghold. The place had 
become untenable, and it was with some difficulty 
that a repetition of the catastrophe of Fort Wash- 
ington was avoided. Greene had barely Greene barely 
time, with his 2,000 men, to gain the I^Leef" 11 
bridge over the Hackensack and join Nov ' 20 - 
the main army, leaving behind all his cannon, 
tents, blankets, and eatables. The position now 
occupied by the main army, between the Hacken- 
sack and Passaic rivers, was an unsafe one, in view 
of the great superiority of the enemy in numbers. 
A strong British force, coming down upon Wash- 
ington from the north, might compel him to sur- 
render or to fight at a great disadvantage. To 
avoid this danger, on the 21st, he crossed the Pas- 
saic and marched southwestward to Newark, where 
lie stayed five days ; and every day he sent a mes- 
senger to Lee, urging him to make all possible 
haste in bringing over his half of the army, that 
they might be able to confront the enemy on some- 
thing like equal terms. Nothing could have been 
more explicit or more peremptory than Washing- 
ton's orders; but Lee affected to misunderstand 
them, sent excuses, raised objections, paltered, 
argued, prevaricated, and lied, and so contrived to 
stay where he was until the first of December. To 
Washington he pretended that his moving was be- 
set by "obstacles," the nature of which he would 
explain as soon as they should meet. But to 
James Bowdoin, president of the executive council 



224 THM AMERICAN REVOLUTION, 

of Massachusetts, lie wrote at the same time declar- 
ing that his own army and that under 
^^twSS- Washington " must rest each on its own 
mgton * bottom." He assumed command over 

Heath, who had been left to guard the Highlands, 
and ordered him to send 2,000 troops to reinforce 
the main army ; but that o.fficer very properly re- 
fused to depart from the instructions which the 
eommander-in-chief had left with him. To various 
members of Congress Lee told the falsehood that if 
Ms advice had only been heeded, Fort "Washington 
would have been evacuated ere it was too late; 
and he wrote to Dr. Rush, wondering whether any 
of the members of Congress had ever studied Ro- 
man history, and suggesting that he might do great 
things if he could only be made Dictator for one 
week. 

Meanwhile Washington, unable to risk a battle, 
was rapidly retreating through New Jersey. On 
the 28th of November Cornwallis advanced upon. 
Newark, and Washington fell back upon New 
Brunswick. On the first of December, as Corn- 
wallis reached the latter place, Washington broke 
down the bridge over the Raritan, and continued 
his retreat to Princeton. The terms of 
service for which his troops had been 



Pennsylvania. 1 . , i . 

enlisted were now beginning to expire, 
and so greafc was the discouragement wrought by 
the accumulation of disasters which tad befallen 
the army since the battle of Long Island that 
many of the soldiers lost heart in their work. 
Homesickness began to prevail, especially among 
the New England troops, and as their terms ex- 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 225 

pired it was difficult to persuade them to reeftlist 
Under these circumstances the army dwindled fast, 
until, by the time he reached Princeton, Washing- 
ton had but 3,000 men remaining at his disposal. 
The only thing to be done was to put the broad 
stream of the Delaware between himself and the 
enemy, and this he accomplished by the 8th, car- 
rying over all his guns and stores, and seizing or 
destroying every boat that could be found on that 
great river for many miles in either direction. 
When the British arrived, on the evening of the 
same day, they found it impossible to cross. Corn- 
wallis was eager to collect a flotilla of boats as soon 
as practicable, and push on to Philadelphia, but 
Howe, who had just joined him, thought it hardly 
worth while to take so much trouble, as the river 
would be sure to freeze over before many days. 
So the army was posted with front somewhat too 
far extended along the east bank, with its centre 
at Trenton, under Colonel Eall ; and while they 
waited for that " snap " of intensely cold weather, 
which in this climate seldom fails to come on within 
a few days of Christmas, Howe and CornwalHs 
"both went back to New York. 

Meanwhile, on the 2d of December, Lee had at 
last crossed the Hudson with a force diminished 
to 4,000 men, and had proceeded by slow marches 
as far as Morristown. Further reinforcements 
were at hand. General Schuyler, in command of 
the army which had retreated the last summer 
from Canada, was guarding the forts on Lake 
Champlain ; and as these appeared to be safe for 
the present, he detached seven regiments to ga 



226 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

to the aid of Washington. As soon as Lee heard 
of the arrival of three of these regi- 

Keinforcements ___,,. ... , , ,., 

come from ments at Peekskill, he ordered them to 
join him at Morristown. As the other 
four, under General Gates, were making their way 
through northern New Jersey, doubts arose as to 
where they should find "Washington in the course 
of Ms swift retreat. Gates sent his aid, Major 
Wilkinson, forward for instructions, and he, learn- 
ing that Washington had withdrawn into Pennsyl- 
vania, reported to Lee at Morristown, as second in 
command. 

Lee had left his army in charge of Sullivan, 
and had foolishly taken up his quarters at an un- 
guarded tavern about four miles from the town, 
where Wilkinson found him in bed on the morn- 
ing of the 18th. After breakfast Lee wrote a 
confidential letter to Gates, as to a kindred spirit 

Fortunately ^ m wlu) m te m %kt ^XP 6 ^ to get Sym- 

rit. pathy. Terrible had been the conse- 
cfuences of the disaster at Fort Wash- 
Dec, is. ington. "There never was so damned 
a stroke," said the letter. " Entre nous, a certain 
great man is most damnably deficient. He has 
thrown me into a situation where I have my choice 
of difficulties. If I stay in this province I risk 
myself and army, and if I do not stay the province 
is lost forever* . . . Our counsels have been weak 
to the last degree. As to yourself, if you think 
you can be in time to aid the general, I would have 
you by all means go. YOU will at least save your 
army. . , . Adieu, my dear friend. God bless 
you." Hardly had he signed his name to this scan* 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 227 

dalous document when Wilkinson, who was stand- 
Ing at the window, exclaimed that the British were 
upon them. Sure enough. A Tory in the neigh- 
bourhood, discerning the golden opportunity, had 
galloped eighteen miles to the British lines, and 
returned with a party of thirty dragoons, who sur 
rounded the house and captured the vainglorious 
schemer before he had time to collect Ms senses. 
Bareheaded, and dressed only in a flannel gown and 
slippers, he was mounted on Wilkinson's horse, 
which stood waiting at the door, and was carried 
off, amid much mirth and exultation, to the British 
camp. Crest-fallen and bewildered, he expressed 
a craven hope that his life might be spared, but 
was playfully reminded that he would very likely 
be summarily dealt with as a deserter from the 
British army ; and with this scant comfort he was 
fain to content himself for some weeks to come. 

The capture of General Lee was reckoned by 
the people as one more in the list of dire catas- 
trophes which made the present season the dark- 
est moment in the whole course of the war. Had 
they known all that we know now, they would have 
seen that the army was well rid of a worthless 
mischief-maker, while the history of the war had 
gained a curiously picturesque episode. Apart 
from this incident there was cause enough for the 
gloom which now overspread the whole country. 
Washington had been forced to seek shelter be- 
hind the Delaware with a handful of men, whose 
terms of service were soon to expire, and another 
fortnight might easily witness the utter dispersal 
of this poor little army. At Philadelphia, where 



228 THE AMEEICAN BEVOLUTION. 

Putnam was now in command, there was a general 

panic, and people began hiding their valuables and 

moving* their wives and children out into 

The times fe . 

that tried the country. Congress took fright, and 

men's souls. . . . , . 

retired to Baltimore. At the beginning 
of December, Lord Howe and his brother had is- 
sued a proclamation offering pardon and protection 
to all citizens who within sixty days should take the 
oath of allegiance to the British Crown ; and in the 
course of ten days nearly three thousand persons, 
many of them wealthy and of high standing in so- 
ciety, had availed themselves of this promise. The 
British soldiers and the Tories considered the con- 
test virtually ended. General Howe was compared 
with Caesar, who came, and saw, and conquered. For 
Ms brilliant successes he had been made a Knight 
Commander of the Bath, and New York was to 
"become the scene of merry Christmas festivities on 
the occasion of his receiving the famous red rib- 
bon. In his confidence that Washington's strength 
was quite exhausted, he detached a considerable 
force from the army In New Jersey, and sent it, 
under Lord Percy, to take possession of Newport 
as a convenient station for British ships entering 
the Sound. Donop and Hall with their Hessians 
and Grant with his hardy Scotchmen would now 
quite suffice to destroy the remnant of "Washing- 
ton's army ; and Cornwallis accordingly packed his 
portmanteaus and sent them aboard ship, intending 
to sail for England as soon as the fumes of the 
Christmas punch should be duly slept off. 

Well might Thomas Paine declare, in the first 
of the series of pamphlets entitled " The Crisis," 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 229 

wMch lie now began to publish, that "these are the 
times that try men's souls." But in the midst of 
the general despondency there were a few brave 
hearts that had not yet begun to despair, and the 
bravest of these was Washington's. At this awful 
moment the whole future of America, WasMngtOQ 
and of all that America signifies to the gJ^ 
world, rested upon that single Titanic 
will. Cruel defeat and yet more cruel treachery, 
enough to have crushed the strongest, could not 
crush Washington. All the lion in Mm was 
aroused, and his powerful nature was aglow with 
passionate resolve. His keen eye already saw the 
elements of weakness in Howe's too careless dispo- 
sition of his forces on the east bank of the Dela- 
ware, and he had planned for Ms antagonist such 
a Christmas greeting as he little expected. Just 
at this moment Washington was opportunely rein- 
forced by Sullivan and Gates, with the troops 
lately under Lee's command; and with, his little 
army thus raised to 6,000 men, he meditated such 
a stroke as might revive the drooping spirits of 
Ms countrymen, and confound the enemy in the 
very moment of his fancied triumph. 

Washington's plan was, by a sudden attack, to 
overwhelm the British centre at Trenton, and thus 
force the army to retreat upon *ew York. The 
Delaware was to be crossed in three divisions. Tlifc 
right wing, of 2,000 men, under Gates, was to 
attack Count Donop at Burlington; EwSng, with 
the centre, was to cross directly opposite Trenton; 
while Washington himself, with the left wing, was 
to cross nine miles above, and march down upon 



230 TEE AMERICAN INVOLUTION. 

Trenton from the north. On Christmas Bay all 
was ready, but the beginnings of the enterprise 
were not auspicious. Gates, who preferred to go 
and intrigue in Congress, succeeded in begging off, 
and started for Baltimore. Cadwalader, who took 
Ms place, tried hard to get his men and artillery 
across the river, but was baffled by the huge masses 
of floating ice, and reluctantly gave up the attempt. 
Ewing was so discouraged that he did not even try 
to cross, and both officers took it for granted that 

Washington must be foiled in like man- 
He crosses o 
theDeiaware; ner> J3 u fc Washington was desperately 

in earnest ; and although at sunset, just as he had 
reached his crossing-place, he was informed by 
special messenger of the failure of Ewing and 
Cadwalader, he determined to go on and make the 
attack with the 2,500 men whom he had with him. 
The great blocks of ice, borne swiftly along by the 
powerful current, made the passage extremely dan- 
gerous, but Glover, with his skilful fishermen of 
Marblehead, succeeded in ferrying the little army 
across without the loss of a man or a gun. More 
than ten hours were consumed in the passage, and 
then there was a march of nine miles to be made 
in a blinding storm of snow and sleet. They 
pushed rapidly on in two columns, led by Greene 
and pierces the an< * Sullivan respectively, drove in the 
Br^h centre enem y' s pickets at the point of the bay- 
Dec, 26. * one ^ an( j entered the town by different 
roads soon after sunrise. Washington's guns were 
at once planted so as to sweep the streets, and after 
Colonel Rail and seventeen of his men had been 
slain, the whole body of Hessians, 1,000 in nura 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 231 

ber, surrendered at discretion. Of the Americans, 
two were frozen to death on the march, and two 
were killed in the action. By noon of the next 
day Cadwalader had crossed the river to Burling- 
ton, but no sooner had Donop heard what had hap- 
pened at Trenton than he retreated by a circuitous 
route to Princeton, leaving behind all his sick and 
wounded soldiers, and all his heavy arms and bag- 
gage. "Washington recrossed into Pennsylvania 
with his prisoners, but again advanced, and occu- 
pied Trenton on the 29th. 

When the news of the catastrophe reached New 
York, the holiday feasting was rudely Cornwallis 
disturbed. Instead of embarking for ^fevethe 
England, Cornwallis rode post-haste to disasfcer ; 
Princeton, where he found Donop throwing up 
earthworks. On the morning of January 2d 
Cornwallis advanced, with 8,000 men, upon Tren- 
ton, but his march was slow and painful. He was 
exposed during most of the day to a galling fire 
from parties of riflemen hidden in the woods by 
the roadside, and Greene, with a force of 600 men 
and two field-pieces, contrived so to harass and 
delay him that he did not reach Trenton till late 
in the afternoon. By that time "Washington had 
withdrawn his whole force beyond the Assunpink, 
a small river which flows into tbe Delaware just 
south of Trenton, and had guarded the bridge and 
the fords by batteries admirably placed. The 
British made several attempts to cross, but were 
repulsed with some slaughter ; and as their day's 
work had sorely fatigued them, Cornwallis thought 
best to wait until to-morrow, while he sent his 



2S2 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

messenger post-haste "back to Princeton to bring up 
a force of nearly 2,000 men which he had left be- 
hind there. With this added strength he felt sure 
that he could force the passage of the 

and thinks he , ,, A ... 

has run down stream above the American position^ 

the "old fox." .. _ -TOT T . . , i , 

when by turning W asnington s right 
flank he could fold him back against the Delaware, 
and thus compel him to surrender. Cornwallis 
accordingly went to bed in high spirits. " At last 
we have run down the old fox," said he, " and we 
will bag him in the morning." 

The situation was indeed a very dangerous one 5 
but when the British general called his antagonist 
an old fox, he did him no more than justice. In 

its union of slyness with audacity, the 

But "Washing- . J J ' 

ton prepares a movement which Washington now exe~ 

checkmate ; r\ 

ctited strongly reminds one of " Stone- 
wall" Jackson. He understood perfectly well 
what Cornwallis intended to do ; but he knew at 
the same time that detachments of the British 
army must have been left behind at Princeton and 
New Brunswick to guard the stores. From the 
size of the army before him he rightly judged that 
these rear detachments must be too small to with- 
stand his own force. By overwhelming one or 
both of them, he could compel Cornwallis to re- 
treat upon New York, while he himself might take 
up an impregnable position on the heights about 
Morristown, from which he might threaten the 
British line and hold their whole army in check, 
a most brilliant and daring scheme for a com- 
mander to entertain while in such a perilous position 
as Washington was that night ! But the manner 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 233 

in which he "began bj extricating himself was not 
the least brilliant part of the manoeuvre. All night 
long the American camp-fires were kept burning 
brightly, and small parties were busily engaged in 
throwing up intrenchinents so near the Assunpink 
that the British sentinels could plainly hear the 
murmur of their voices and the thud of the spade 
and pickaxe. While this was going on, the whole 
American army marched swiftly up the south bank 
of the little stream, passed around Cornwallis's 
left wing to his rear, and gained the road to 
Princeton. Toward sunrise, as the British detach- 
ment was coming down the road from Princeton 
to Trenton, in obedience to Cornwallis's order, its 
Tan, under Colonel Mawhood, met the foremost 
column of Americans approaching, under General 
Mercer. As he caught sight of the Americans, 
Mawhood thought that they must be a party of 
fugitives, and hastened to intercept them ; but he 
was soon undeceived. The Americans attacked 
with vigour, and a sharp fight was sustained, with 
varying fortunes, until Mercer was pierced by a 
bayonet, and his men began to fall back in some 
confusion. Just at this critical moment and a . gev _ 
Washington came galloping upon the 
field and rallied the troops, and as the 
entire forces on both sides had now come up the 
fight became general. In a few minutes the Brit- 
ish were routed and their line wa^ cut in two; 
one half fleeing toward Trenton, the other half 
toward New Brunswick. There was little slaugh- 
ter, as the whole fight did not occupy more than 
twenty minutes. The British lost about 200 in 



234 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

killed and wounded, with 300 prisoners and there 
cannon ; the American loss was less than 100. 

Shortly before sunrise, the men who had been 
left in the camp on the Assunpink to feed the fires 
and make a noise beat a hasty retreat, and found 
their way to Princeton by circuitous paths. When 
Cornwallis got up, he could hardly believe his eyes* 
Here was nothing before him but an empty camp : 
the American army had vanished, and whither it 
had gone he could not imagine. But his perplexity 
was soon relieved by the booming of distant can- 
non on the Princeton road, and the game which the 
" old fox " had played him all at once became ap- 
parent. Nothing was to be done but to 
retreafc upon New Brunswick with all 
New York. possible haste, and save the stores there. 
His road led back through Princeton, and from 
Mawhood's fugitives he soon heard the story of 
the morning's disaster. His march was hindered 
by various impediments. A thaw had set in, so 
that the little streams had swelled into roaring tor- 
rents, difficult to ford, and the American army, 
which had passed over the road before daybreak, 
had not forgotten to destroy the bridges. By the 
time that Cornwallis and his men reached Prince- 
ton, wet and weary, the Americans had already 
left it, but they had not gone on to New Bruns- 
wick. Washington had hoped to seize the stores 
there, but the distance was eighteen miles, his men 
were wretchedly shod and too tired to march rap- 
idly, and it would not be prudent to risk a general 
engagement when his main purpose could be se- 
cured without one. For these reasons, Washing- 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTMK 235 

ton turned northward to the heights of Morris- 
town, while Cornwallis continued his retreat to 
New Brunswick. A few days later, Putnam ad- 
vanced from Philadelphia and occupied Princeton, 
thus forming the right wing of the American army 9 
of which the main body lay at Morristown, while 
Heath's division on the Hudson constituted the left 
wing. Various cantonments were established along 
this long line. On the 5th, George Clinton, com- 
ing down from Peekskill, drove the British out of 
Haekensack and occupied it, while on the same day 
a detachment of German mercenaries at Spring- 
field was routed by a body of militia. Elizabeth- 
town was then taken by General Maxwell, where- 
upon the British retired from Newark. 

Thus in a brief campaign of three weeks Wash- 
ington had rallied the fragments of a defeated and 
broken army, fought two successful battles, taken 
nearly 2,000 prisoners, and recovered the state of 
New Jersey. He had cancelled the disastrous effects 
of Lee's treachery, and replaced things apparently 
in the condition in which the fall of Fort Wash- 
ington had left them. Eeally he had done much 



more than this, for by assuming the of- 
fensive and winning victories through completely 
sheer force of genius, he had completely 



turned the tide of popular feeling. The British 
generals began to be afraid of him, while on the 
other hand his army began to grow by the accession 
of fresh recruits. In New Jersey, the enemy re- 
tained nothing but New Brunswick, Amboy, and 
Paulus Hook. 

On the 25th of January Washington issued a 



236 TS.E AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

proclamation declaring that all persons who had 
accepted Lord Howe's offer of protection must 
either retire within the British lines, or come for- 
ward and take the oath of allegiance to the United 
States. Many narrow-minded people, who did not 
look with favour upon a close federation of the 
states, commented severely upon the form of this 
proclamation : it was too national, they said. But 
It proved effective. However lukewarm may have 
been the interest which many of the Jersey peo- 
ple felt In the war when their soil was first In- 
vaded, the conduct of the British troops Lad been 
such that every one now looked upon them as 
foreign enemies. They had not only foraged in. 
discriminately upon friend and foe, but they had 
set fire to farmhouses, murdered peaceful citizens, 
and violated women. The wrath of the people, 
kindled by such outrages, had waxed so hot that 
it was not safe for the British to stir beyond their 
narrow lines except In considerable force. Their 
foraging parties were waylaid and cut off by bands 
of Indignant yeomanry, and so sorely were they 
harassed in their advanced position at New Brims- 
wick that they often suffered from want of food. 
Many of the German mercenaries, caring nothing 
for the cause in which they had been forcibly en- 
listed, began deserting ; and In this they were en* 
couraged by Congress, which issued a manifesto in 
German, making a liberal offer of land to any for- 
eign soldier who should leave the British service., 
This little document was inclosed in the wrappers 
in which packages of tobacco were sold, and every 
now and then some canny smoker accepted the 
offer. 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 287 

Washington's position at Morristown was so 
strong that there was no hope o dislodging him, 
and the snow-blocked roads made the difficulties 
of a winter campaign so great that Howe thought 
best to wait for warm weather before doing any- 
thing more. While the British arms were thus 
held in check, the friends of America, both in 
England and on the continent of Europe, were 
greatly encouraged. From this moment Wash- 
ington was regarded in Europe as a firstrate gen- 
eral. Military critics who were capable 

- , , i. , . r Washington's 

01 understanding Jus movements com- superb gen- 

. eralskip. 

pared Jus brilliant achievements with 
Ms slender resources, and discovered in him genius 
of a high order. Men began to call him "the 
American Fabius ; " and this epithet was so pleas- 
ing to his fellow-countrymen, in that pedantic age, 
that it clung to him for the rest of his life, and was 
repeated in newspapers and speeches and pamphlets 
with wearisome iteration. Yet there was some- 
thing more than Fabian in Washington's general- 
ship. For wariness he has never been surpassed ; 
yet, as Colonel Stedman observed, in his excellent 
contemporary history of the war, the most remark- 
able thing about Washington was his courage. It 
would be hard indeed to find more striking exam- 
ples of audacity than he exhibited at Trenton and 
Princeton. Lord Cornwallis was no mean antag- 
onist, and no one was a better judge of what a 
commander might be expected to do with a giveii 
stock of resources. His surprise at the Assunpink 
was so great that he never got over it. After 
the surrender at Yorktown, it is said that his lord* 



238 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION, 

ship expressed to Washington his generous admira- 
tion for the wonderful skill which had suddenly 
hurled an army four hundred miles, from the Hud- 
son river to the James, with such precision and 
such deadly effect. "But after all," he added, 
"your excellency's achievements in New Jersey 
were such that nothing could surpass them." The 
man who had turned the tables on him at the As- 
sunpink he could well believe to be capable of any- 
thing. 

In England the effect of the campaign was very 
serious. Not long before, Edmund Burke had 
despondingly remarked that an army which was 
always obliged to refuse battle could never expel 
the invaders; but now the case wore a different 
aspect. Sir William Howe had Dot so much to 
show for Ms red ribbon, after all. He had taken 
New York, and dealt many heavy blows with his 
overwhelming force, unexpectedly aided by foul 
play on the American side ; but as for crushing 
Washington and ending the war, he seemed farther 
from it than ever. It would take another cam- 
paign to do this, perhaps many. Lord North, 
who had little heart for the war at any time, was 
discouraged, while the king and Lord George Ger- 
main were furious with disappointment. u It was 
that unhappy affair of Trenton," observed the lat- 
ter, " that blasted our hopes." 

In France the interest in American affairs grew 
rapidly. Louis XVI. had no love for Americans 
or for rebels, but revenge for the awful disasters 
of 1758 and 1759 was dear to the French heart. 
France felt toward England then as she feels 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 239 

toward Germany now, and so long ago as tlie time 
of the Stamp Act, Baron Kalb had been sent on 
a secret mission to America, to find out how the 
people regarded the British government. The pol- 
icy of the French ministry was aided by the ro- 
mantic sympathy for America which was felt in 
polite society. Never perhaps have the opinions 
current among fashionable ladies and gentlemen 
been so directly controlled by philosophers and 
scholars as in France during the latter half of the 
eighteenth century. Never perhaps have men of 
letters exercised such mighty influence over their 
contemporaries as Yoltaire, with his noble enthusi- 
asm for humanity, and Rousseau, with his startling 
political paradoxes, and the writers of the " Ency- 
clopedic,'' with their revelations of new points of 
view in science and in history. To such men as these, 
and to such profound political thinkers as Montes- 
quieu and Turgot, the preservation and extension 
of English liberty was the hope of the world; but 
they took little interest in the British crown or in 
the imperial supremacy of Parliament. All there- 
fore sympathized with the Americans and urged on 
the policy which the court for selfish reasons was 
inclined to pursue. Vergennes, the astute minister 
of foreign affairs, had for some time been waiting 
for a convenient opportunity to take part in the 
struggle, but as yet he had contented himself with 
furnishing secret assistance. For more than a 
year he had been intriguing, through Beaumar- 
chais, the famous author of " Figaro," with Arthur 
Lee (a brother of Richard Henry Lee), who had 
long served in London as agent for Virginia. Just 



240 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

before the Declaration of Independence Vergennes 
sent over a million dollars to aid the American 
cause. Soon afterwards Congress sent Silas Deane 
to Paris, and presently ordered Arthur Lee to join 
Mm there. In October Franklin was also sent 
over, and the three were appointed commissioners 
for making a treaty of alliance with the French 
court. 

The arrival of Franklin was the occasion of 
great excitement in the fashionable world of Paris. 
By thinkers like Diderot and D'Alembert he was 
regarded as the embodiment of practical wisdom. 
To many he seemed to sum up in himself the ex- 
cellences of the American cause, justice, good 
sense, and moderation. Voltaire spoke quite un- 
consciously of the American army as " Franklin's 
troops." It was Turgot who said of him, in a line 
which is one of the finest modern specimens of 
epigrammatic Latin, " Eripuit coelo fulmen, scep- 
trumque tyrannis." As symbolizing the liberty 
for which all France was yearning, he was greeted 
with a popular enthusiasm such as perhaps no 
Frenchman except Voltaire has ever called forth. 
As he passed along the streets, the shopkeepers 
rushed to their doors to catch a glimpse of him, 
while curious idlers crowded the sidewalk. The 
charm of his majestic and venerable figure seemed 
heightened by the republican simplicity of his 
plain brown coat, over the shoulders of which his 
long gray hair fell carelessly, innocent of queue or 
powder. His portrait was hung in the shop-win- 
dows and painted in miniature on the covers of 
snuff-boxes. Gentlemen wore " Franklin " hats, 



FIEST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 241 

ladies' kid gloves were dyed of a " Franklin " 
hue, and cotelettes a la Franklin were served at 
fashionable dinners. 

As the first fruits of Franklin's negotiations, the 
French government agreed to furnish two million 
livres a year, in quarterly instalments, to assist 
the American cause. Three ships, laden with mil- 
itary stores, were sent over to America : one was 
captured by a British cruiser, "but the other two ar- 
rived safely. The Americans were allowed to fit 
out privateers in French ports, and even to bring 
in and sell their prizes there. Besides this a mil- 
lion livres were advanced to the commissioners on 
account of a quantity of tobacco which they agreed 
to send in exchange. Further than this France 
was not yet ready to go. The British ambassador 
had already begun to protest against the violation 
of neutrality involved in the departure of priva- 
teers, and France was not willing to run the risk 
of open war with England until it should become 
clear that the Americans would prove efficient 
allies. The king, moreover, sympathized with 
George III., and hated the philosophers whose 
opinions swayed the French people ; and in order 
to accomplish anything in behalf of the Americans 
he had to be coaxed or bullied at every step. 

But though the French government was not yet 
ready to send troops to America, volunteers were 
not wanting who cast in their lot with us through 
a purely disinterested enthusiasm. At a dinner 
party in Metz, the Marquis de Lafayette, then a 
boy of nineteen, heard the news from America, 
and instantly resolved to leave his pleasant home 



242 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

and offer Ms services to Washington. He fitted 
tip a ship at his own expense, loaded it with mili- 
tary stores furnished by Beaumarchais, and set 
sail from Bordeaux on the 26th of April, taking 
with him Kalb and eleven other officers. While 
Marie Antoinette applauded his generous self-de- 
votion, the king forbade him to go,- but he disre- 
garded the order. His young wife, whom he 
deemed it prudent to leave behind, he consoled 
with the thought that the future welfare of all 
mankind was at stake in the struggle for constitu- 
tional liberty which was going on in America, and 
that where he saw a chance to be useful it was his 
duty to go. The able Polish officers, Pulaski and 
Kosciusko had come some time before. 

During the winter season at Morristown, Wash- 
ington was busy in endeavouring to recruit and re- 
organize the army. Tip to this time the military 
preparations of Congress had been made upon a 
ludicrously inadequate scale. There had been no 
serious attempt to create a regular army, bufc 
squads of militia had been enlisted for terms of 
three or six months, as if there were any likelihood 
of the war being ended within such a period. The 
rumour of Lord Howe's olive-branch policy may at 
first hare had something to do with this, and even 
after the Declaration of Independence had made 
further temporizing impossible, there were many 
who expected Washington to perform miracles and 
thought that by some crushing blow the invaders 
might soon be brought to terms. But the events 
of the autumn had shown that the struggle was 
likely to prove long and desperate, and there could 



FIRST BLOW AT TEE CENTRE. 243 

be no doubt as to tie imperative need of a regular 
army. To provide such, an army was, however, no 
easy task. The Continental Congress was little 
more than an advisory body o delegates, and it 
was questionable how far it could exercise author- 
ity except as regarded the specific points which the 
constituents of these delegates had in view when 
they chose them. Congress could only recommend 
to the different states to raise their respective quo- 
tas of men, and each state gave heed to such a re- 
quest according to its ability or its inclination. 
All over the country there was then, as always, 
a deep-rooted prejudice against standing armies. 
Even to-day, with our population of sixty-five mil- 
lions, a proposal to increase our regular army to 
fifty thousand men, for the more efficient police of 
the Indian districts in Arizona and Montana, has 
been greeted by the press with tirades about mili- 
tary despotism. A century ago this feeling was 
naturally much stronger than it is to-day. The 
presence of standing armies in this country had 
done much toward bringing on the Kevolution ; 
and it was not until it had become evident that 
we must either endure the king's regulars or have 
regulars of our own that the people could be made 
to adopt the latter alternative. Under the influ- 
ence of these feelings, the state militias were en- 
listed for very short terms, each under its local 
officers, so that they resembled a group of little 
allied armies. Such methods were fatal to military 
discipline. Such soldiers as had remained in the 
army ever since it first gathered itself together 
on the day of Lexington had now begun to learn 



244 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

something of military discipline ; but it was Impos- 
sible to maintain it in the face of the much greater 
number who kept coming and going at intervals of 
three months. With such fluctuations in strength, 
moreover, it was difficult to carry out any series of 
military operations. The Christmas night when 
Washington crossed the Delaware was the most 
critical moment of his career ; for the terms of ser- 
vice of the greater part of his little army expired 
on New Tear's Day, and but for the success at 
Trenton, they would almost certainly have dis- 
banded. But in the exultant mood begotten of 
this victory, they were persuaded to remain for 
some weeks longer, thus enabling Washington to 
recover the state of New Jersey. So low had the 
public credit sunk, at this season of disaster, that 
Washington pledged his private fortune for the 
payment of these men, in case Congress should be 
found wanting ; and his example was followed by 
the gallant John Stark and other officers. Except 
for the sums raised by Robert Morris of Philadel- 
phia, even Washington could not have saved the 
country. 

Another source of weakness was the intense dis- 
like and jealousy with which the militia of the dif- 
ferent states regarded each other. Their alliance 
against the common enemy had hitherto done little 
more toward awakening a cordial sympathy between 
the states than the alliance of Athenians with Lace- 
demonians against the Great King accomplished 
toward ensuring peace and good-will throughout 
the Hellenic world. Politically the men of Vir- 
ginia had thus far acted in remarkable harmony 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 245 

with tlie men o New England, but socially there 
was but little fellowship between them. In those 
days of slow travel the plantations of Virginia 
were much more remote from Boston than they 
now are from London, and the generalizations 
which the one people used to make about the 
other were, if possible, even more crude than those 
which Englishmen and Americans are apt to make 
about each other at the present day. To the 
stately elegance of the Virginian country mansion 
it seemed right to sneer at New England mer- 
chants and farmers as " shopkeepers " and " peas- 
ants," while many people in Boston regarded 
Virginian planters as mere Squire Westerns. Be- 
tween the eastern and the middle states, too, there 
was much ill-will, because of theological differences 
and boundary disputes. The Puritan of New 
Hampshire had not yet made up his quarrel with 
the Churchman of New York concerning the own- 
ership of the Green Mountains ; and the wrath of 
the Pennsylvania Quaker waxed hot against the 
Puritan of Connecticut who dared claim jurisdic- 
tion over the valley of Wyoming. We shall find 
such, animosities bearing bitter fruit in personal 
squabbles among soldiers and officers, as well as in 
removals and appointments of officers for reasons 
which had nothing to do with their military com- 
petence. Even in the highest ranks of the army 
and in Congress these local prejudices played their 
part and did no end of mischief. 

From the outset Washington had laboured with 
Congress to take measures to obviate these alarm- 
ing difficulties. In the midst of his retreat through 



246 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

the Jerseys he declared that " short enlistments 
and a mistaken dependence upon militia have teen 
the origin of aE our misfortunes," and at the same 
time he recommended that a certain number of 
battalions should be raised directly by the United 
States, comprising volunteers drawn Indiscrimi- 
nately from the several states. These measures 
were adopted by Congress, and at the same time 
Washington was clothed with almost dictatorial 
powers. It was decided that the army of state 
troops should be increased to 66,000 men, divided 
into eighty-eight battalions, of which Massachusetts 
and Virginia were each to contribute fifteen, "Penn- 
sylvania twelve, North Carolina nine, Connecticut 
eight, South Carolina six, New York and New Jer- 
sey four each, New Hampshire and Maryland three 
each, Rhode Island two, Delaware and Georgia 
each one." The actual enlistments fell very far 
short of this number of men, and the proportions 
assigned by Congress, based upon the population of 
the several states, were never heeded. The men 
now enlisted were to serve during the war, and 
were to receive at the end a hundred acres of land 
each as bounty. Colonels were to have a bounty 
of five hundred acres, and inferior officers were to 
receive an intermediate quantity. Even with 
these offers it was found hard to persuade men to 
enlist for the war, so that it was judged best to 
allow the recruit his choice of serving for three 
years and going home empty-handed, or staying 
till the war should end in the hope of getting a 
new farm for one of his children. All this enlist- 
ing was to be done by the several states, which 



FIRST BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 247 

were also to clothe and arm their recruits, but the 
money for their equipments, as well as for the 
payment and support of the troops, was to be fur 
nished by Congress. Officers were to be selected 
by the states, but formally commissioned by Con- 
gress. At the same time Washington was author- 
ized to raise sixteen battalions of infantry, contain- 
ing 12,000 men, three regiments of artillery, 3,000 
light cavalry, and a corps of engineers. These 
forces were to be enlisted under Washington's di- 
rection, in the name of the United States, and 
were to be taken indiscriminately from all parts of 
the country. Their officers were to be appointed 
by Washington, who was furthermore empowered 
to fill all vacancies and remove any officer below 
the rank of brigadier-general in any department 
of the army. Washington was also authorized to 
take whatever private property might anywhere be 
needed for the army, allowing a fair compensation 
to the owners ; and he was instructed to arrest at 
his own discretion, and hold for trial by the civil 
courts, any person who should refuse to take the 
continental paper money, or otherwise manifest a 
want of sympathy with the American cause. 

These extraordinary powers, which at the dark- 
est moment of the war were conferred upon Wash- 
ington for a period of six months, occasioned much 
grumbling, but it does not appear that any specific 
difficulty ever arose through the way in which they 
were exercised. It would be as hard, perhaps, to 
find any strictly legal justification for the creation 
of a Continental army as it would be to tell just 
where the central government of the United States 



248 TEE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

was to be found at that time. Strictly speaking, 
no central government had as yet been formed, 
No" articles of confederation had yet been adopted 
by the states, and the authority of the Continental 
Congress had been in nowise defined. It was gen- 
erally felt, however, that the Congress now sitting 
had been chosen for the purpose of representing 
the states in their relations to the British crown,, 
This Congress had been expressly empowered to 
declare the states independent of Great Britain, 
and to wage war for the purpose of making good 
its declaration. And it was accordingly felt that 
Congress was tacitly authorized to take such meas- 
ures as were absolutely needful for the mainte- 
nance of the struggle. The enlistment of a Conti- 
nental force was therefore an act done under an 
implied "war power," something like the power 
invoked at a later day to justify the edict by which 
President Lincoln emancipated the slaves. The 
thoroughly English political genius of the Ameri- 
can people teaches them when and how to tolerate 
such anomalies, and has more than once enabled 
them safely to cut the Gordian knot which mere 
logic could not untie if it were to fumble till 
doomsday. In the second year after Lexington 
the American commonwealths had already entered 
upon the path of their " manifest destiny," and 
were becoming united into one political body 
faster than the people could distinctly realize. 



CHAPTER VI. 
SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTBE, 

EVES since the failure of the American invasion 
of Canada, it had been the intention of Sir Guy 
Carleton, in accordance with the wishes of the min- 
istry, to invade New York by way of Lake Cham- 
plain, and to secure the Mohawk valley and the 
upper waters of the Hudson. The summer of 
1776 had been employed by Carleton in getting 
together a fleet with which to obtain 

i T n Carletonin- 

control ot the lake, it was an arduous vades New 
task. Three large vessels were sent 
over from England, and proceeded up the St. Law- 
rence as far as the rapids, where they were taken 
to pieces, carried overland to St. John's, and there 
put together again. Twenty gunboats and more 
than two hundred flat-bottomed transports were 
built at Montreal, and manned with 700 picked 
seamen and gunners ; and upon this flotilla Carle* 
ton embarked his army of 12,000 men. 

To oppose the threatened invasion, Benedict 
Arnold had been working all the summer with 
desperate energy. In June the materials for his 
navy were growing in the forests of Vermont, 
while his carpenters with their tools, his sailmakers 
with their canvas, and his gunners with their guns 
had mostly to be brought from the coast towns of 



250 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Connecticut and Massachusetts. By the end of 
September he had built a little fleet of three 
schooners, two sloops, three galleys, and eight gon- 
dolas, and fitted it out with seventy guns and such 
seamen and gunners as he could get together. 
With this flotilla he could not hope to prevent the 
advance of such an overwhelming force as that of 
the enemy. The most he could do would be to 
Arnold's worry and delay it, besides raising the 
preparations, spirits of the people by the example of 
an obstinate and furious resistance. To allow 
Carleton to reach Ticonderoga without opposition 
would be disheartening, whereas by delay and vex- 
ation he might hope to dampen the enthusiasm of 
the invader. With this end in view, Arnold pro- 
ceeded down the lake far to the north of Crown 
Point, and taking up a strong position between 
Valcour Island and the western shore, so that 
both his wings were covered and he could be at- 
tacked only in front, he lay in wait for the enemy. 
James Wilkinson, who twenty years afterward be- 
came commander -in -chief of the American army, 
and survived the second war with England, was 
then at Ticonderoga, on Gates's staff. Though 
personally hostile to Arnold, he calls attention in 
his Memoirs to the remarkable skill exhibited in 
the disposition of the little fleet at Valcour Island, 
which was the same in principle as that by which 
Macdonough won his brilliant victory, not far from 
the same spot, in 1814. 

On the llth of October, Sir Guy Carleton's 
squadron approached, and there ensued the first 
battle fought between an American and a British 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 251 

fleet. At sundown, after a desperate fight of seven 
hours' duration, the British withdrew 

' Battle of Val* 

out of range, intending to renew the 
struggle in the morning. Both fleets 
had suffered severely, but the Americans were so 
badly cut up that Carleton expected to force their 
rear the next day, and capture them. But Arnold, 
during the hazy night, by a feat scarcely less 
remarkable than Washington's retreat from X/ong 
Island, contrived to slip through the British line 
with all that was left of his crippled flotilla, and 
made away for Crown. Point with all possible speed. 
Though he once had to stop to mend leaks, and 
once to take off the men and guns from two gon- 
dolas which were sinking, he nevertheless, by dint 
of sailing and kedging, got such a start that the 
enemy did not overtake him until the next day 
but one, when he was neariug Crown Point. While 
the rest of the fleet, by Arnold's orders, now 
crowded sail for their haven, he in his schooner 
sustained an ugly fight for four hours with the 
three largest British vessels, one of which mounted 
eighteen twelve-pounders. His vessel was wofully 
cut up, and her deck covered with dead and dying 
men, when, having sufficiently delayed the enemy, 
he succeeded in running her aground in a small 
creek, where he set her on fire, and she perished 
gloriously, with her flag flying till the flames 
brought it down. Then marching through wood- 
land paths to Crown Point, where his other vessels 
had now disembarked their men, he brought away 
his whole force in safety to Ticonderoga. When 
Carleton appeared before that celebrated fortress, 



252 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

finding it strongly defended, and doubting his 
ability to reduce it before the setting in of cold 
weather, he decided to take his army back to Can- 
ada, satisfied for the present with having gained 
control of Lake Champlain. This sudden retreat 
of Carleton astonished both friend and foe. He 
was blamed for it by his generals, Burgoyne, Phil- 
lips, and Eiedesel, as well as by the king ; and 
when we see how easily the fortress was seized by 
Phillips in the following summer, we * can hardly 
doubt that it was a grave mistake. 

Arnold had now won an enviable reputation as 
the u bravest of the brave." In his terrible march 
through the wilderness of Maine, in the assault upon 
Quebec, and in the defence of Lake Champlain, 
he had shown rare heroism and skill. The whole 
country rang with his praises, and Washington 
regarded him as one of the ablest officers in the 
army. Yet when Congress now pro- 

Congresspro- -, -, , , . 

motes five ju- ceeded to appoint five new major-gen- 
over Amoid, erals, they selected Stirling, Mifflin, St. 
Clair, Stephen, and Lincoln, passing 
over Arnold, who was the senior brigadier. None 
of the generals named could for a moment be com- 
pared with Arnold for ability, and this strange 
action of Congress, coming soon after such a bril- 
liant exploit, naturally hurt his feelings and greatly 
incensed him. Arnold was proud and irascible in 
temper, but on this occasion he controlled himself 
manfully, and listened to Washington, who en- 
treated him not to resign. So astonished was 
Washington at the action of Congress that at first 
hf Bould not believe it. He thought either that 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 253 

Arnold must really have received a prior appoint- 
ment, which for some reason had not yet been 
made public, or else that his name must have been 
omitted through some unaccountable oversight. It 
turned out, however, on further inquiry, that state 
jealousies had been the cause of the mischief. 
The reason assigned for ignoring Arnold's services 
was that Connecticut had already two major-gen- 
erals, and was not in fairness entitled to any more ! 
But beneath this alleged reason there lurked a 
deeper reason, likewise founded in jealousies be- 
tween the states. The intrigues which soon after 
disgraced the northern army and imperilled the 
safety of the country had already begun to bear 
bitter fruit. Since the beginning of the war, Ma- 
jor-General Philip Schuyler had been in command 
of the northern department, with his headquarters 
at Albany, whence his ancestors had a century 
before hurled defiance at Frontenac. pwlip Schuy , 
His family was one of the most distin- ler * 
guished in New York, and an inherited zeal for the 
public service thrilled in every drop of his blood. 
No more upright or disinterested man could be 
found in America, and for bravery and generosity 
he was like the paladin of some mediaeval romance. 
In spite of these fine qualities, he was bitterly 
hated by the New England men, who formed a 
considerable portion of his army. Beside the 
general stupid dislike which the people of New 
York and of New England then felt for each other $ 
echoes of which are still sometimes heard nowa- 
days, there was a special reason for the odium 
which was heaped upon Schuyler. The dispute over 



254 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

the possession of Vermont had now raged fiercely 
for thirteen years, and Schuyler, as a member of 
the New York legislature, had naturally been zeal- 
ous in urging the claims of his own state. For 
this crime the men of New England were never 
able to forgive him, and he was pursued with vin- 
dictive hatred until his career as a general was 
ruined. His orders were obeyed with suUenness, 
the worst interpretation was put upon every one 
of his acts, and evil-minded busybodies were con- 
tinually pouring into the ears of Congress a stream 
of tattle, which gradually wore out their trust in 
Mm. 

The evil was greatly enhanced by the fact that 
among the generals of the northern army there 
was one envious creature who was likely to take 
Schuyler's place in case he should be ousted from 
it, and who for so desirable an object was ready to 
do any amount of intriguing. The part sustained by 
Charles Lee with reference to Washington was to 
Horatio some extent paralleled here by the part 
Gafces " sustained toward Schuyler by Horatio 

Gates. There is indeed no reason for supposing 
that Gates was capable of such baseness as Lee 
exhibited in his willingness to play into the hands 
of the enemy ; nor had he the nerve for such pro- 
digious treason as that in which Arnold engaged 
after his sympathies had become alienated from 
the American cause* With all his faults, Gates 
never incurred the odium which belongs to a pub- 
lic traitor. But his nature was thoroughly weak 
and petty, and he never shrank from falsehood 
when it seemed to serve his purpose* Unlike Lee, 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 255 

lie was comely In person, mild in disposition, and 
courteous in manner, except when roused to anger or 
influenced by spite, when he sometimes became very 
violent. He never gave evidence either of skill or 
of bravery ; and in taking part in the war his only 
solicitude seems to have been for his own personal 
advancement. In the course of his campaigning 
with the northern army, he seems never once to 
have been under fire, but he would incur no end of 
fatigue to get a private talk with a delegate in 
Congress. Like many others, he took a high posi- 
tion at the beginning of the struggle simply be- 
cause he was a veteran of the Seven Years' "War, 
having been one of the officers who were brought 
off in safety from the wreck of Braddock's army 
by the youthful skill and prowess of Washington. 
At present, and until after the end of the Saratoga 
campaign, such reputation as he had was won by 
appropriating the fame which was earned by his 
fellow-generals. He was in command at Ticonder- 
oga when Arnold performed his venturesome feat 
on Lake Champlain, and when Carleton made his 
blunder in not attacking the stronghold; and all 
this story Gates told to Congress as the story of 
an advantage which he had somehow gained over 
Carleton, at the same time anxiously inquiring if 
Congress regarded him, in his remote position at 
Ticonderoga, as subject to the orders of Schuyler 
at Albany. Finding that he was thus regarded as 
subordinate, he became restive, and seized the ear 
liest opportunity of making a visit to Congress. 
The retreat of Carleton enabled Schuyler to send 
seven regiments to the relief of Washington in 



256 TBS AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

New Jersey, and we have already seen how Gates, 
on arriving with this reinforcement, declined to 
assist personally in the Trenton campaign, and took 
the occasion to follow Congress in its retreat to 
Baltimore. 

The winter seems to have been spent in intrigue. 
Knowing the chief source of Schuyler's unpopu- 
larity. Gates made it a point to declare, as often 
and as loudly as possible, his belief that 
against 1 isa&a the state of New York had no title to 
uy 6r * the Green Mountain country. In this 
way he won golden opinions from the people of 
New England, and rose high in the good graces 
of such members of Congress as Samuel Adams, 
whose noble nature was slow to perceive his mean- 
ness and duplicity. The failure of the invasion of 
Canada had caused much chagrin in -Congress, and 
it was sought to throw the whole blame of it upon 
Schuyler for having, as it was alleged, inadequately 
supported Montgomery and Arnold. The unjust 
charge served to arouse a prejudice in many minds, 
and during the winter some irritated letters passed 
between Schuyler and Congress, until late in 
March, 17T7, he obtained permission to visit Phil- 
adelphia and vindicate himself. On the 22d of 
May, after a thorough investigation, Schuyler's 
conduct received the full approval of Congress, 
and he was confirmed in his command of the north- 
ern department, which was expressly defined as 
including Lakes George and Champlain, as well as 
the valleys of the Hudson and the Mohawk. 

The sensitive soul of Gates now took fresh of- 
fence. He had been sent back in March, to his post 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 257 

at Tieonderoga, just as Sclmyler was starting for 
Philadelphia, and he flattered himself with the hope 
that he would soon be chosen to supersede his gal- 
lant commander. Accordingly when he found that 
Schuyler had been reinstated in all his old com- 
mand and honours, he flew into a rage, refused to 
serve in a subordinate capacity, wrote an impu- 
dent letter to Washington, and at last G atesvisita 
got permission to visit Congress again, Gm ^ QS& - 
while General St. Glair was appointed in his stead 
to the command of the great northern fortress. 
On the 19th of June, Gates obtained a hearing 
before Congress, and behaved with such unseemly 
violence that after being repeatedly called to order, 
he was turned out of the room, amid a scene of 
angry confusion. Such conduct should naturally 
have ruined his cause, but he had made so many 
powerful friends that by dint of more or less 
apologetic talk the offence was condoned. 

Throughout these bickerings Arnold had been 
the steadfast friend of Schuyler ; and although his 
brilliant exploits had won general admiration he did 
not fail to catch some of the odium so plentifully 
bestowed upon the New York commander. In the 
chaos of disappointment and wrath which ensued 
upon the disastrous retreat from Canada in 1776, 
when everybody was eager to punish somebody else 
for the ill fortune which was solely due to the su- 
perior resources of the enemy, Arnold 
came in for his share of blame. No one against Ar 

nold. 

could find any fault with his military con- 
duct, but charges were brought against him on the 
ground of some exactions of private property at 



258 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Montreal which liad been made for the support of 
the army. A thorough investigation of the case 
demonstrated Arnold's entire uprightness in the 
matter, and the verdict of Congress, which declared 
the charges to be " cruel and unjust," was heartily 
indorsed by Washington. Nevertheless, in the 
manifold complications of feeling which surrounded 
the Schuyler trouble, these unjust charges suc- 
ceeded in arousing a prejudice which may have had 
something to do with the slight cast upon Arnold 
in the appointment of the new major-generals. In 
the whole course of American history there are few 
sadder chapters than this. Among the scandals of 
this eventful winter we can trace the beginnings of 
the melancholy chain of events which by and by 
resulted in making the once heroic name of Bene- 
dict Arnold a name of opprobrium throughout the 
world. We already begin to see, too, originating 
in Lee's intrigues of the preceding autumn, and 
nourished by the troubles growing out of the Ver- 
mont quarrel and the ambitious schemes of Gates, 
the earliest germs of that faction which erelong was 
to seek to compass the overthrow of Washington 
himself. 

For the present the injustice suffered by Arnold 
had not wrought its darksome change in him. A 
long and complicated series of influences was re- 
quired to produce that result. To the earnest ap- 
peal of Washington that he should not resign he 
responded cordially, declaring that no personal con- 
siderations should induce him to stay at home while 
the interests of his country were at stake. He would 
zealously serve even under his juniors, who had 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 259 

lately been raised above Mm, so long as the com- 
mon welfare was in danger. An oppor- 

. . i Tryon's expe- 

tunity for active service soon presented <*ition against 
Itself. Among the preparations for the 
coming summer campaign, Sir William Howe 
thought it desirable to cripple the Americans by 
seizing a large quantity of military stores which 
had been accumulated at Danbury In Connecticut. 
An expedition was sent out, very much like that 
which at Lexington and Concord had ushered in 
the war, and it met with a similar reception. A 
force of 2,000 men, led by the royal governor, 
Tryon, of North Carolina fame, landed at Fair- 
field, and marched to Danbury, where they de- 
stroyed the stores and burned a large part of the 
town. The militia turned out, as on the day of 
Lexington, led by General Wooster, who was slain 
in the first skirmish. By this time Arnold, who 
happened to be visiting his children in Arnolddefeats 
New Haven, had heard of the affair, and l^fieid, 
came upon the scene with 600 men. At Aprn 27 1777 ' 
Eidgefield a desperate fight ensued, in which Ar- 
nold had two horses killed under him. The British 
were defeated. By the time they reached their 
ships, 200 of their number had been killed or 
wounded, and, with the yeomanry swarming on 
every side, they narrowly escaped capture. For 
his share in this action Arnold was now made a 
major-general, and was presented by Congress with 
a fine horse ; but nothing was done towards restor- 
ing him to his relative rank, nor was any expla- 
nation vouchsafed. Washington offered him the 
command of the Hudson at Peekskill, which was 



260 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

liable to prove one of the important points in the 
ensuing campaign ; but Arnold for the moment 
declined to take any such position until he should 
have conferred with Congress, and fathomed the 
nature o the difficulties by which he had been be- 
set ; and so the command of this important position 
was given to the veteran Putnam. 

The time for the summer campaign was now 
at hand. The first year of the independence of 
the United States was nearly completed, and up 
to this time the British had nothing to show for 
their work except the capture of the city of New 
York and the occupation of Newport. The army 
of Washington, which six months ago they had 
regarded as conquered and dispersed, still balked 
and threatened them from its inexpugnable posi- 
tion on the heights of Morristown. It was high 
time that something more solid should be accom- 
plished, for every month of adverse possession 
added fresh weight to the American cause, and in- 
creased the probability that France would interfere. 

A decisive blow was accordingly about to be 
struck. After careful study by Lord George Ger- 
main, and much consultation with General Bur- 
goyne, who had returned to England for the win- 
ter, it was decided to adhere to the plan of the 
preceding year, with slight modifications. The 
great object was to secure firm possession of the 
entire valley of the Hudson, together with that of 
the Mohawk. It must be borne in mind that at 
this time the inhabited part of the state of New 
York consisted almost entirely of the Mohawk and 
Hudson valleys. All the rest was unbroken wiU 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 261 

derness, save for an occasional fortified trading- 
post. With a total population of about . 
170,000. New York ranked seventh centre of the 

' . . United States 

among; the thirteen states ; iust after was the state 

55 . . of New York. 

Maryland and Connecticut, just before 
South Carolina. At the same time, the geograph- 
ical position of New York, whether from a com- 
mercial or from a military point of view, was as 
commanding then as it has ever been. It was 
thought that so small a population, among which 
there were known to be many Tories, might easily 
be conquered and the country firmly held. The 
people of New Jersey and Pennsylvania were re- 
garded as lukewarm supporters of the Declaration 
of Independence, and it was supposed that the 
conquest of New York might soon be followed by 
the subjection of these two provinces. With the 
British power thus thrust, like a vast wedge, 
through the centre of the confederacy, it would be 
impossible for New England to cooperate with the 
southern states, and it was hoped that the union 
of the colonies against the Crown would thus be 
effectually broken. 

With this object o conquering New York, we 
have seen Carleton, in 1776, approaching through 
Lake Champlain, while Howe was wresting Man- 
hattan Island from Washington. But the plan 
was imperfectly conceived, and the cooperation 
was feeble. How feeble it was is well shown by 
the fact that Carleton's ill-judged retreat from 
Crown Point enabled Schuyler to send reinforce- 
ments to Washington in time to take part in the 
great strokes at Trenton and Princeton. Some* 



262 THE AMEBICAN REVOLUTION. 

thing, however, had been accomplished. In spite 
of Arnold's desperate resistance and Washington's 
consummate skill, the enemy had gained a hold 
upon both the northern and the southern ends of 
the long line. But this obstinate resistance served 
to some extent to awaken the enemy to the arduous 
character of the problem. The plan 

A second blow . _ A _. . j , 

to be struck at was more caretully studied, and it was 

the centre. . .. 

The plan of intended that this tune the cooperation 



should be more effectual. In order to 
take possession of the whole state by one grand 
system of operations, it was decided that the inva- 
sion should be conducted by three distinct armies 
operating upon converging lines. A strong force 
from Canada was to take Ticonderoga, and pro- 
ceed down the line of the Hudson to Albany. 
This force was now to be commanded by General 
Burgoyne, while his superior officer, General Carle- 
ton, remained at Quebec. A second and much 
smaller force, under Colonel St. Leger, was to go 
up the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, land at Os- 
wego, and, with the aid of Sir John Johnson and 
the Indians, reduce Fort Stanwix ; after which he 
was to come down the Mohawk valley and unite 
Ms forces with those of Burgoyne. At the same 
time, Sir William Howe was to ascend the Hud- 
son with the main army, force the passes of the 
Highlands at Peekskill, and effect a junction with 
Burgoyne at Albany. The junction of the three 
armies was expected to complete the conquest of 
New York, and to insure the overthrow of Ameri- 
can independence. 

Such was the plan of campaign prepared by the 




BURGOYNE'S CAMPAIGN 
JULY-OCTOBER., 1777 



SECOND SLOW AT THE CENTRE. 263 

ministry. There can be no doubt that it was care- 
fully studied, or that, if successful, it would have 
proved very disastrous to the Americans. There 
is room, for very grave doubt, however, as to 
whether it was the most judicious plan to adopt. 
The method of invading any country by distinct 
forces operating upon converging lines is open to 
the objection that either force is liable to be sepa- 
rately overwhelmed without the possibility of rein- 
forcement from the other. Such a plan The plan wa8 
is prudent only when the invaded coun- Tmsound - 
try has good roads, and when the invaders have a 
great superiority in force, as was the case when 
the allied armies advanced upon Paris in 1814. 
In northern and central New York, in 1777, the 
conditions were very unfavourable to such a plan. 
The distances to be traversed were long, and the 
roads were few and bad. Except in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Albany and Saratoga, the coun- 
try was covered with the primeval forest, through 
which only the trapper and the savage could make 
their way with speed. The Americans, too, had 
the great advantage of operating upon interior 
lines. It was difficult for Burgoyne at Fort Ed- 
ward, St. Leger before "Fort Stanwix, and Howe in 
the city of New York to communicate with each 
other at all ; it was impossible for them to do so 
promptly ; whereas nothing could be easier than 
for Washington at Morristown to reach Putnam at 
Peekskill, or for Putnam to forward troops to 
Schuyler at Albany, or for Schuyler to send out a 
force to raise the siege of Fort Stanwix. In view 
of these considerations, it seems probable that 



284 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Lord George Germain would have acted more 
wisely if lie had sent Burgoyne with his army di- 
rectly by sea to reinforce Sir William Howe. 
The army thus united, and numbering more than 
80,000 men, would have been really formidable. 
If they had undertaken to go up the river to Al- 
bany, it would have been hard to prevent them. 
If their united presence at Albany was the great 
object of the campaign, there was no advantage in 
sending one commander to reach it by a difficult 
and dangerous overland march. The Hudson is 
navigable by large vessels all the way to Albany, 
and by advancing in this way the army might have 
preserved its connections ; and whatever disaster 
might have befallen, it would have been, difficult, 
for the Americans to surround and capture so 
large a force. Once arrived at Albany, the expe- 
dition of St. Leger might have set out from that 
point as a matter of subsequent detail, and would 
have had a base within easy distance upon which 
to fall back in case of defeat. 

It does not appear, therefore, that there were 
any advantages to be gained by Burgoyne's ad- 
vance from the north which can be regarded as 
commensurate with the risk which he incurred. 
To have transferred the northern army from the 
St. Lawrence to the Hudson by sea would have 
been far easier and safer than to send it through 
a hundred miles of wilderness in northern New 
York ; and whatever it could have effected in the 
interior of the state could have been done as well 
in the former case as in the latter. But these con- 
siderations do not seem to have occurred to Lord 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE, 265 

George Germain. In the wars with the French, 
the invading armies from Canada had always come 
by way of Lake Champlain, so that this route was 
accepted without question, as if consecrated by 
long usage. Through a similar association of ideas 
an exaggerated importance was attached to the 
possession of Ticonderoga. The risks Germaine i s 
of the enterprise, moreover, were greatly fatal error * 
underestimated. In imagining that the routes o 
Burgoyne and St. Leger would lie through a 
friendly country, the ministry fatally misconceived 
the whole case. There was, indeed, a powerful 
Tory party in the country, just as in the days of 
Robert Bruce there was an English party in Scot- 
land, just as in the days of Miltiades there was a 
Persian party in Attika. But no one has ever 
doubted that the victors at Marathon and at Ban- 
nockburn went forth with a hearty godspeed from 
their fellow-countrymen ; and the obstinate resist- 
ance encountered by St. Leger, within a short dis- 
tance of Johnson's Tory stronghold, is an eloquent 
commentary upon the error of the ministry in the 
estimate of the actual significance of the loyalist 
element on the New York frontier. 

It thus appears that in the plan of a triple inva- 
sion upon converging lines the ministry were deal- 
Ing with too many unknown quantities. 

rrn T i Too many 

Ihey were running? a prodigious risk unknown 

ij I, T JXI--L- quantities. 

for the sake 01 an advantage winch in 
itself was extremely open to question ; for should 
it turn out that the strength of the Tory party was 
not sufficiently great to make the junction of the 
three armies at Albany at once equivalent to the 



266 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

complete conquest of the state, then the end for 
which the campaign was undertaken could not be 
secured without supplementary campaigns. Neither 
a successful march up and down the Hudson river 
nor the erection of a chain of British fortresses 
on that river could effectually cut off the southern 
communications of "New England, unless all mili- 
tary resistance were finally crushed in the state 
of New York, The surest course for the British, 
therefore, would have been to concentrate all their 
available force at the mouth of the Hudson, and 
continue to make the destruction of Washington's 
army the chief object of their exertions. In view 
of the subtle genius which he had shown during 
the last campaign, that would have been an ardu- 
ous task ; but, as events showed, they had to deal 
with his genius all the same on the plan which they 
adopted, and at a great disadvantage. 

Another point which the ministry overlooked 
was the effect of Burgoyne's advance upon the peo- 
ple of New England. They could reasonably count 
upon alarming the yeomanry of New Hampshire 
and Massachusetts by a bold stroke 

Danger from ^ 

f e OTST gland n P on *ke Hudson, but they failed to see 
that this alarm would naturally bring 
about a rising that would be very dangerous to 
the British cause. Difficult as it was at that time 
to keep the Continental army properly recruited, 
It was not at all difficult to arouse the yeomanry 
in the presence of an immediate danger. In the 
western parts of New England there were scarcely 
any Tories to complicate the matter ; and the flank 
movement by the New England militia became one 
of the most formidable features in the case. 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 26T 

But whatever may be thought of the merits of 
Lord George's plan, -there can be no doubt that its 
success was absolutely dependent upon the har- 
monious cooperation o all the forces involved in 
it. The ascent of the Hudson by Sir William 
Howe, with the main army, was as essential a part 
of the scheme as the descent of Burgoyne from 
the north ; and as the two commanders could not 
easily communicate with each other, it was neces- 
sary that both should be strictly bound by their 
instructions. At this point a fatal blunder was 
made. Bnrgoyne was expressly directed to follow 
the prescribed line down the Hudson, whatever 
might happen, until he should effect his junction 
with the main army. On the other hand, no such 
unconditional orders were received by Howe. He 
understood the plan of campaign, and knew that 
he was expected to ascend the river in force ; but 
he was left with the usual discretionary power, and 
we shall presently see what an impru- 
dent use he made of it. The reasons SX *T^ 
for this inconsistency on the part of the neyersent 
ministry were for a long time unintelligible ; but 
a memorandum of Lord Shelburne, lately brought 
to light by Lord Edmund Fitzmaurice, has solved 
the mystery. It seems that a dispatch, containing 
positive and explicit orders for Howe to ascend 
the Hudson, was duly drafted, and, with many 
other papers, awaited the minister's signature. 
Lord George Germain, being on his way to the 
country, called at his office to sign the dispatches ; 
but when he came to the letter addressed to Gen- 
eral Howe, he found it had not been " fair copied/ 5 



263 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Lord George, like the old gentleman who killed 
himself in defence of the great principle that crum- 
pets are wholesome, never would be put out of 
his way by anything-. Unwilling to lose his holi- 
day lie hurried off to the green meadows of Kent, 
intending to sign the letter on his return. But 
when he came back the matter had slipped from 
Ms mind. The document on which hung the for- 
tunes of an army, and perhaps of a nation, got 
thrust unsigned into a pigeon-hole, where it was 
duly discovered some time after the disaster at 
Saratoga had become part of history. 

Happy in his ignorance of the risks he was 
assuming, Burgoyne took the field about the 1st 
of June, with an army of 7,902 men, of whom 
4,135 were British regulars. His German troops 
from Brunswick, 3,116 in number, were com- 
manded by Baron Eiedesel, an able general, whose 
accomplished wife has left us such a picturesque 
and charming description of the scenes of this ad- 
venturous campaign. Of Canadian militia there 
were 148, and of Indians 503. The regular troops, 
both German and English, were superbly trained 
and equipped, and their officers were selected with 
especial care. Generals Phillips and Eraser were 
regarded as among the best officers in the British 
service. On the second anniversary of 

Burgoyne ad- ^ , ._.. _ . 1 

vances upon JDunker Hill tins army began crossing 
icon eroga. ^ ^^ ^ Crown Point ; and. on the 

1st of July it appeared before Ticonderoga, where 
St. Clair was posted with a garrison of 3,000 men. 
Since its capture by Allen, the fortress had been 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 269 

earefully strengthened, until it was now believed to 
be impregnable. But while no end of time and ex- 
pense had been devoted to the fortifications, a neigh- 
bouring point which commands the whole position 
had been strangely neglected. A little less than 
a mile south of Ticonderoga, the narrow mountain 
ridge between the two lakes ends abruptly in a 
bold crag, which rises 600 feet sheer over the blue 
water. Practised eyes in the American fort had 
already seen that a hostile battery planted on this 
eminence would render their stronghold untenable ; 
but it was not believed that siege-guns could be 
dragged up the steep ascent, and so, in 
spite of due warning, the crag had not Mount Defi Z - es 
been secured when the British army ar- 
rived. General Phillips at once saw the value of 
the position, and, approaching it by a defile that 
was screened from the view of the fort, worked 
night and day in breaking out a pathway and drag- 
ging up cannon. " Where a goat can go, a man 
may go ; and where a man can go, he can haul up 
a gun," argued the gallant general. Great was 
the astonishment of the garrison when, on the 
morning of July 5th, they saw red coats swarming 
on the top of the hill, which the British, rejoicing 
in their exploit, now named Mount Defiance. There 
were not only red coats there, but brass cannon, 
which by the next day would be ready for work. 
Ticonderoga had become a trap, from which the 
garrison could not escape too quickly. 
A council of war was held, and under 
cover of night St. Clair took his little 1777 * 
army across the lake and retreated upon Castleton 



270 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

in the Green Mountains. Such, guns and stores 
as could be saved, with, the women and wounded 
men, were embarked in 200 boats, and sent, under 
*4 strong escort, to the head of the lake, whence 
they continued their retreat to Fort Edward on 
the Hudson. About three o'clock in the morning 
a house accidentally took fire, and in the glare of 
the flames the British sentinels caught a glimpse of 
the American rear-guard just as it was vanishing 
in the sombre depths of the forest. Alarm guns 
were fired, and in less than an hour the British 
flag was hoisted over the empty fortress, while 
General Eraser, with 900 men, had started in hot 
pursuit of the retreating Americans. Eiedesel was 
soon sent to support him, while Burgoyne, leav- 
ing nearly 1,000 men to garrison the fort, started 
up the lake with, the main body of the army. 
*^^ On the morning of the 7th, General 

Battle of Hub- -, . 

baraton, Fraser overtook the American rear- 

July 7. 

guard of 1,000 men, under Colonels 
Warner and Francis, at the village of Hubbard- 
ton, about six miles behind the main army. A 
fierce fight ensued, in which Fraser was worsted, 
and had begun to fall back, with the loss of one 
fifth of his men, when Eiedesel came up with his 
Germans, and the Americans were put to flight, 
leaving one third of their number killed or wounded. 
This obstinate resistance at Hubbardton served to 
check the pursuit, and five days later St. Clair 
succeeded, without further loss, in reaching Fort 
Edward, where he joined the main army under 
Schuyler. 

Up to this moment, considering the amount of 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 271 

work done and the extent of country traversed, the 
loss of the British had teen very small. They be- 
gan to speak contemptuously of their antagonists^ 
and the officers amused themselves by 

. . , One swallow 

laying wagers as to the precise number does not make 
of days it would take them to reach Al- 
bany. In commenting on the failure to occupy 
Mount Defiance, Burgoyne made a general state- 
ment on the strength of a single instance, which 
is the besetting sin of human reasoning, " It con- 
vinces me," said he, " that the Americans have no 
men of military science." Yet General Howe at 
Boston, in neglecting to occupy Dorchester Heights, 
had made just the same blunder, and with less ex- 
cuse ; for no one had ever doubted that batteries 
might be placed there by somebody. 

In England the fall of Ticonderoga was greeted 
with exultation, as the death-blow to the American 
cause* Horace Walpole tells how the ^e king's 
king rushed into the queen's apartment, glee< 
clapping his hands and shouting, " I have beat 
them ! I have beat all the Americans ! " People 
"began to discuss the best method of reestablishing 
the royal governments in the "colonies." In 
America there was general consternation. Sfc. 
Clair was greeted with a storm of abuse. John 
Adams, then president of the Board of Wrat}l0 f Jolm 
War, wrote, in the first white Beat of Adams - 
indignation, " We shall never be able to defend a 
post till we shoot a general ! " Schuyler, too, as 
commander of the department, was ignorantly and 
wildly blamed, and his political enemies seized 
upon the occasion to circulate fresh stories to his 



272 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

discredit, A court-martial in the following year 
vindicated St. Glair's prudence in giving up an un- 
tenable position and saving Ms army from capture. 
The verdict was just, but there is no doubt that 
the failure to fortify Mount Defiance was a grave 
error of judgment, for which the historian may 
fairly apportion the blame between St. Clair and 
Gates. It was Gates who had been in command 
of Ticonderoga in the autumn of 1776, when an 
attack by Carleton was expected, and his attention 
had been called to this weak point by Colonel 
Trumbnll, whom he laughed to scorn. Gates had 
again been in command from March to June. St. 
Clair had taken command about three weeks be-- 
fore Burgoyne's approach ; he had seriously con- 
sidered the question of fortifying Mount Defiance,, 
but had not been sufficiently prompt. In no case 
Gates cMe% could any blame attach to Sehuyler. 
to wame. Q- a t e s was more at fault than any one- 
else, but he did not happen to be at hand when the 
catastrophe occurred, and accordingly people did 
not associate him with it. On the contrary, amid 
the general wrath, the loss of the northern citadel 
was alleged as a reason for superseding Schuyler 
by Gates ; for if he had been there, it was thought 
that the disaster would have been prevented. 

The irony of events, however, alike ignoring 
American consternation and British glee, showed 
that the capture of Ticonderoga was not to help 
the invaders in the least. On the contrary, it 
straightway became a burden, for it detained an 
eighth part of Burgoyne's force in garrison at a 
time when he could ill spare it. Indeed, alarming 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 273 

as his swift advance had seemed at first, Burgoyne'a 
serious difficulties were BOW "just beein- 

J o 



ning, and the harder he laboured to sur- difficulties be- 
mount them the more completely did 
he work himself into a position from which it was 
impossible either to advance or to recede. On the 
10th of July his whole army had reached Skenes- 
borough (now Whitehall), at the head of Lake 
Champlain. From this point to Fort Edward, 
where the American army was encamped, the dis- 
tance was twenty miles as the crow flies ; but 
Schuyler had been industriously at work with 
those humble weapons the axe and the crowbar, 
which in warfare sometimes prove mightier than 
the sword. The roads, bad enough at their best, 
were obstructed every few yards by huge trunks of 
fallen trees, that lay with their boughs interwoven. 
Wherever the little streams could serve as aids to 
the march, they were choked up with stumps and 
stones; wherever they served as obstacles which 
needed to be crossed, the bridges were broken 
down. The country was such an intricate laby- 
rinth of creeks and swamps that more than forty 
bridges had to be rebuilt in the course of the 
march. Under these circumstances, Burgoyne's 
advance must be regarded as a marvel of celerity. 
He accomplished a mile a day, and reached Fort 
Edward on the 30th of July. 

In the mean time Schuyler had crossed the 
Hudson, and slowly fallen back to Still- Schuyler 
water, about thirty miles above Albany. Si el lort^ 
For this retrograde movement fresh ward * 
blame was visited upon him by the general public, 



274 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

which at all times is apt to suppose that a war 
should mainly consist of bloody battles, and which 
can seldom be made to understand the strategic 
value of a retreat. The facts of the case were also 
misunderstood. Fort Edward was supposed to be 
an impregnable stronghold, whereas it was really 
commanded by highlands. The Marquis de Chas- 
fcellux, who visited it somewhat later, declared that 
it could be taken at any time by 500 men with four 
siege-guns. Now for fighting purposes an open 
field is much better than an untenable fortress. If 
Schuyler had stayed in Fort Edward, he would 
probably have been forced to surrender ; and his 
wisdom in retreating is further shown by the fact 
that every moment of delay counted in his favour. 
The militia of New York and New England were 
already beating to arms. Some of those yeomen 
who were with the army were allowed to go home 
for the harvest ; but the loss was more than made 
good by the numerous levies which, at Schuyler's 
suggestion and by Washington's orders, were col- 
lecting under General Lincoln in Vermont, for the 
purpose of threatening Burgoyne in the 

Enemies gath- mi 11 . 

ermg in Bur- rear. The people whose territorv was 

goyoe'srear. . * r n 

invaded grew daily more troublesome to 
the enemy. Burgoyne had supposed that it would 
be necessary only to show himself at the head of an 
army, when the people would rush by hundreds to 
offer support or seek protection. He now found 
that the people withdrew from his line of advance, 
driving their cattle before them, and seeking shel- 
ter, when possible, within the lines of the Ameri- 
can army. In his reliance upon the aid of New 



SJ3COND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 275 

York loyalists, lie was utterly disappointed ; very 
few Tories joined Mm, and these could offer neither 
sound advice nor personal influence wherewith to 
help Mm. When the yeomanry collected by hun- 
dreds, it was only to yex Mm and retard his pro- 
gress. 

Even had the loyalist feeling on the Vermont 
frontier of New York been far stronger than ife 
really was, Burgoyne Had done much to alienate or 
stifle it by Ms ill-advised employment of ^ ^ ] - ndiail 
Indian auxiliaries. For this blunder auxiliarie8 - 
the responsibility rests mainly with Lord North 
and Lord George Germaine. Burgoyne had little 
choice in the matter except to carry out his instruc- 
tions. Being a humane man, and sharing, per- 
haps, in that view of the " noble savage " which 
was fashionable in Europe in the eighteenth cen- 
tury, he fancied he could prevail upon his tawnv 
allies to forego their cherished pastime of murder- 
ing and scalping. When, at the beginning of the 
campaign, he was joined by a party of "Wyandots 
and Ottawas, under command of that same re- 
doubtable Charles de Langlade who, twenty-two 
years before, had achieved the ruin of Braddock, 
he explained his policy to them in an elaborate 
speech, full of such sentimental phrases as the In- 
dian mind was supposed to delight in. The 
slaughter of aged men, of women and children and 
unresisting prisoners, was absolutely 
prohibited ; and " on no account, or pre- add?eTto S t]ie 
tense, or subtlety, or prevarication," cMefs * 
were scalps to be taken from wounded or dying 
men. An order more likely to prove efficient was 



276 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

one which provided a reward for every savage who 
should bring his prisoners to camp in safety. To 
these injunctions, which must have inspired them 
with pitying contempt, the chiefs laconically re- 
plied that they had " sharpened their hatchets upon 
their affections," and were ready to follow their 
" great white father.'- 

The employment of savage auxiliaries was in- 
dignantly denounced by the opposition in Parlia- 
r ...,, ment, and when the news of this speech 

It is ridiculed ' * 

07 Burke. o f Burgoyne's reached England it was 
angrily ridiculed by Burke, who took a sounder 
view of the natural instincts of the red man. 
" Suppose," said Burke, " that there was a riot on 
Tower Hill. What would the keeper of his majes- 
ty's lions do ? Would he not fling open the dens 
of the wild beasts, and then address them thus ? 
*My gentle lions, my humane bears, my tender- 
hearted hyenas, go forth ! But I exhort you, as 
you are Christians and members of civilized soci- 
ety, to take care not to hurt any man, woman, or 
child ! ' " The House of Commons was convulsed 
over this grotesque picture; and Lord North, to 
whom it seemed irresistibly funny to hear an ab- 
sent man thus denounced for measures which he 
himself had originated, sat choking with laughter, 
while tears rolled down his great fat cheeks. 

It soon turned out, however, to be no laughing 
matter. The cruelties inflicted indiscriminately 
upon patriots and loyalists soon served to madden 
the yeomanry, and array against the invaders 
whatever wavering sentiment had hitherto re- 
mained in the country. One sad incident in par- 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CZNTEE. 277 

tieular has been treasured up in the memory of 
the people, and celebrated in song and Thegtor of 
story. Jenny McCrea, the beautiful Ja MoCrea. 
daughter of a Scotch clergyman of Paulus Hook, 
was at Fort Edward, visiting her friend Mrs. Mc- 
Neil, who was a loyalist and a cousin of General 
Fraser. On the morning of July 27th, a maraud- 
ing party of Indians burst into the house, and car- 
ried away the two ladies. They were soon pursued 
by some American soldiers, who exchanged a few 
shots with them. In the confusion which ensued 
the party was scattered, and Mrs. McNeil was 
taken alone into the camp of the approaching Brit- 
ish army. Next day a savage of gigantic stature, 
a famous sachem, known as the Wyandot Pan- 
ther, came into the camp with a scalp which Mrs. 
McNeil at once recognized as Jenny's, from the 
silky black tresses, more than a yard in length. 
A search was made, and the body of the poor girl 
was found hard by a spring in the forest, pierced 
with three bullet wounds. How she came to her 
cruel death was never known. The Panther plau- 
sibly declared that she had been accidentally shot 
during the scuffle with the soldiers, but his vera- 
city was open to question, and the few facts that 
were known left ample room for conjecture. The 
popular imagination soon framed its story with a 
romantic completeness that thrust aside even these 
few facts. Miss McCrea was betrothed to David 
Jones, a loyalist who was serving as lieutenant in 
Burgoyne's army. In the legend which immedi- 
ately sprang up, Mr. Jones was said to have sent 
a party of Indians, with a letter to his betrothed s 



278 THE AMERICAN DEVOLUTION. 

entreating Iier to come to Mm within the British 
lines that they might he married. For bringing 
her to him in safety the Indians were to receive a 
barrel of rum. When she bad entrusted herself 
to their care, and the party had proceeded as far 
as the spring, where the savages stopped to drink, 
a dispute arose as to who was to have the custody 
of the barrel of rum, and many high words ensued, 
until one of the party settled the question offhand 
by slaying the lady with his tomahawk. It would 
be hard to find a more interesting example of the 
mushroom-like growth and obstinate vitality of a 
romantic legend. The story seems to have had 
nothing in common with the observed facts, except 
the existence of the two lovers and the Indians 
and a spring in the forest. 1 Yet it took possession 
of the popular mind almost immediately after the 
event, and it has ever since been repeated, with 
endless variations in detail, by American historians. 
Mr. Jones himself who lived, a broken-hearted 

1 I leave this as I wrote it in June, 1883. Since then another 
version of the facts has been suggested hy W. L. Stone in Apple- 
ton's Cydopcedia of American Biography. In this version, Mr. 
Jones sends a party of Indians under the half-breed Duluth to 
escort Miss McCrea to the camp, where they are to be married 
"by Mr. Brudenell, the chaplain. It is to be quite a fine littlo 
wedding, and the Baroness Eiedesel and Lady Harriet Aekland 
are to be among the spectators. Before Duluth reaches Mrs. 
McNeil's house, the Wyandot Panther (here known by the name 
of a different beast, Le Loup) with his party attacks the house 
and carries off the two ladies. The Panther's party meets Du- 
luth' s near the spring. Duluth insists upon taking Jenny with 
Mm, and high words ensue between him and the Panther, until 
the latter, in a towering rage, draws his pistol and shoots the 
girl. This version, if correct, goes some way toward reconciling 
the legend with the observed facts. 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTUM. 279 

man, for half a century after the tragedy was 
never weary of pointing out its falsehood and ab~ 
surdity ; but all his testimony, together with that 
of Mrs. McNeil and other witnesses, to the facts 
that really happened was powerless to shake the 
hold upon the popular fancy which the legend had 
instantly gained. Such an instance, occurring in 
a community of shrewd and well-educated people, 
affords a suggestive commentary upon the origin 
and growth of popular tales in earlier and more 
ignorant ages. 

But in whatever way poor Jenny may have come 
to her death, there can be no doubt as to the mis- 
chief which it swiftly wrought for the invading 
army. In the first place, it led to the desertion 
of all the savage allies. Burgoyne was a man of 
quick and tender sympathy, and the fate of this 
sweet young lady shocked him as it shocked the 
American people. He would have had the Pan- 
ther promptly hanged, but that his guilt was not 
clearly proved, and many of the officers argued 
that the execution of a famous and popular sachem 
would enrage all the other Indians, and might en- 
danger the lives of many of the soldiers. The 
Panther's life was accordingly spared, 
but Burgoyne made it a rule that hence- 
forth no party of Indians should be goyne " 
allowed to go marauding save under the lead of 
some British officer, who might watch and restrain, 
them. When this rule was put in force, the tawny 
savages grunted and growled for two or three days, 
and then, with hoarse yells and hoots, all the five 
hundred broke loose from the camp, and scampered 



280 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION* 

off to the Adirondack wilderness. From a military 
point of view, the loss was small, save in so far as 
it deprived th^ army of valuable scouts and guides. 
But the thirst for vengeance which was aroused 
among the yeomanry of northern New York, of 
Vermont, and of western Massachusetts was a 
much more serious matter. The lamentable story 
was told at every village fireside, and no detail of 
pathos or of horror was forgotten. The name of 
Jenny McCrea became a watchword, and a fort- 
night had not passed before General Lincoln had 
gathered on the British flank an army of stout and 
resolute farmers, inflamed with such wrath as had 
not filled their bosoms since the day when all New 
England had rushed to besiege the enemy in Boston. 
Such a force of untrained yeomanry is of little 
use in prolonged warfare, but on important occa- 
sions it is sometimes capable of dealing heavy 
blows. We have seen what it could do on the 
memorable day of Lexington. It was now about 
to strike, at a critical moment, with still more 
deadly effect. Burgoyne's advance, laborious as it 
had been for the last three weeks, was now stopped 
for want of horses to drag the cannon and carry 
the provision bags; and the army, moreover, was 
already suffering from hunger. The little village 
. of Bennineton, at the foot of the Green 

Importance of . i -i i IJ.IT J.T 

Bennington; Mountains, had been selected, by tne 

Burgoyne ' . * 

sendsaGer- New England militia as a centre ot 

man force _ .. 

against it, supplies. Many hundred horses had 
been collected there, with ample stores of food and 
ammunition. To capture this village would give 
Burgoyne the warlike material he wanted, while at 



SECOND SLOW AT THE CENTRE. 281 

the same time it would paralyze the movements of 
Lincoln, and perhaps dispel the ominous cloud 
that was gathering over the rear of the British 
army. Accordingly, on the 18th of August, a 
strong detachment of 500 of Riedesel's men, with 
100 newly arrived Indians and a couple of cannon s 
was sent out to seize the stores at Bennington. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Baum commanded the expedi- 
tion, and he was accompanied by Major Skene, an 
American loyalist, who assured Burgoyne on his 
honour that the Green Mountains were swarming 
with devoted subjects of King George, who would 
flock by hundreds to his standard as soon as it 
should be set up among them. That these loyal 
recruits might be organized as quickly as possible, 
Burgoyne sent along with the expedition a skele- 
ton regiment of loyalists, all duly officered, into 
the ranks of which they might be mustered with- 
out delay. The loyal recruits, however, turned 
out to be the phantom of a distempered imagina- 
tion : not one of them appeared in the flesh. On 
the contrary, the demeanour of the people was so 
threatening that Baum became convinced that hard 
work was before him, and next day he sent back 
for reinforcements. Lieutenant-Colonel Breymann 
was accordingly sent to support him, with another 
body of 500 Germans and two field-pieces. 

Meanwhile Colonel Stark was preparing a warm 
reception for the invaders. We have already seen 
John Stark, a gallant veteran of the Seven Years' 
War, serving with distinction at Bunker Hill and 
at Trenton and Princeton. He was considered one 
of the ablest officers in the army ; but he had 



282 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

lately gone liome In disgust, for, like Arnold, he had 
been passed over by Congress in the list 
of promotions. Tired of sulking in his 

IT i A i *n 

tent, no sooner did tnis rustic Achilles 
hear of the invaders' presence in New England 
than he forthwith sprang to arms, and in the twin- 
kling of an eye 800 stout yeomen were marching 
under his orders. He refused to take instructions 
from any superior officer, but declared that he was 
acting under the sovereignty of "New Hampshire 
alone, and would proceed upon his own responsi- 
bility in defending the common cause. At the 
same time he sent word to General Lincoln, at 
Manchester in the Green Mountains, asking him 
to lend him the services of Colonel Seth Warner, 
with the gallant regiment which had checked the 
advance of Fraser at Hubbardton. Lincoln sent 
the reinforcement without delay, and after march- 
ing all night in a drenching rain, the men reached 
Bennington in the morning, wet to the skin. Telling 
them to follow him as soon as they should have 
dried and rested themselves, Stark pushed on, with 
his main body, and found the enemy about six 
miles distant. On meeting this large force, Baum 
hastily took up a strong position on some rising 
ground behind a small stream, everywhere forda- 
ble, known as the Walloomsac river. All day long 
the rain fell in torrents, and while the Germans 
began to throw up intrenchments, Stark laid his 
plans for storming their position on the morrow. 
During the night a company of Berkshire militia 
arrived, and with them the excellent Mr. Allen, 
the warlike parson of Pittsfield, who went up to 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 283 

Stark and said, "Colonel, our Berkshire people 
have been often called out to no purpose, and if 
you don't let them fight now they will never turn 
out again." " Well," said Stark, " would you have 
us turn out now, while it is pitch dark and rain 
ing buckets ? " " No, not just this minute," re- 
plied the minister. " Then," said the doughty 
Stark, " as soon as the Lord shall once more send 
us sunshine, if I don't give you fighting enough, 
I'll never ask you to come out again ! " 

Next morning the sun rose bright and clear, and 
a steam came up from the sodden fields. It was a 
true dog-day, sultry and scorching. The forenoon 
was taken up in preparing the attack, while Baum 
waited in his strong position. The New England- 
ers outnumbered the Germans two to 

1 , ,1 -V.L- j? Battle of Ben- 

One, but they were a militia, unfur- mngtcm, Aug. 

ilished with bayonets or cannon, while 
Baum's soldiers were all regulars, picked from the 
bravest of the troops which Ferdinand of Bruns- 
wick had led to victory at Creveld and Minden. 
But the excellent German commander, in this 
strange country, was no match for the astute Yan- 
kee on his own ground. Stealthily and leisurely, 
during the whole forenoon, the New England farm- 
ers marched around into Baum's rear. They did 
not march in military array, but in little squads, 
half a dozen at a time, dressed in their rustic blue 
frocks. There was nothing in their appearance 
which to a European veteran like Baum could seem 
at all soldier-like, and he thought that here at last 
were those blessed Tories, whom he had been 
taught to look out for, coming to place themselves 



284 THE ANEBICAN REVOLUTION. 

behind Mm for protection. Early in the afternoon 
lie was cruelly undeceived. For while 500 of these 
innocent creatures opened upon him a deadly fire in 
the rear and on both flanks, Stark, with 500 more f 
charged across the shallow stream and assailed him 
in front. The Indians instantly broke and fled 
screeching to the woods, while yet there was time 
for escape. The Germans stood their ground, and 
fought desperately ; but thus attacked on all sides 
at once, they were soon thrown into disorder, and 
after a two hours' struggle, in which Baum was 
mortally wounded, they were all captured. At this 
moment, as the New England men began to scat- 
ter to the plunder of the German camp, the re* 
lieving force of Breymann came upon the scene ; 
and the fortunes of the "day might have been 
changed, had not Warner also arrived with his 
150 fresh men in excellent order. A furious 
charge was made upon Breymann, who 

The Invading & r J ' 

force armiM- gave way, and retreated slowly irom hill 
to hill, while parties of Americans kept 
pushing on to his rear to cut him off. By eight 
in the evening, when it had grown too dark to aim 
a gun, this second German force was entirely dis- 
persed or captured. Breymann, with a mere cor' 
poral's guard of sixty or seventy men, escaped UIK 
der cover of darkness, and reached the British 
camp in safety. Of the whole German force of 
1,000 men, 207 had been killed and wounded, and 
more than 700 had been captured. Among the 
spoils of victory were 1,000 stand of arms, 1,000 
dragoon swords, and the four field-pieces. Of the 
Americans 14 were killed and 42 wounded. 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 285 

The news of tHs brilliant victory spread joy and 
hope throughout the land. Insubordination which 
had been crowned with such splendid success could 
not but be overlooked, and the gallant Stark was 
at once taken back into the army, and made a 
brigadier-general. Not least among the grounds 
of exultation was the fact that an army of yeo- 
manry had not merely defeated, but annihilated, an 
army of the Brunswick regulars, with whose Euro* 
pean reputation for bravery and discipline every 
man in the country was familiar. The bolder 
spirits began to ask the question why that which 
had been done to Baum and Breyniann might not 
be done to Burgoyne's whole army; and Effec tofthe 
in the excitement of this rising hope, J^ g B . 
reinforcements began to pour in faster *****&& 
and faster, both to Schuyler at Still water and to 
Lincoln at Manchester. On the other hand, Bur- 
goyne at Fort Edward was fast losing heart, as 
dangers thickened around him. So far from se- 
curing his supplies of horses, wagons, and food by 
this stroke at Bennington, he had simply lost one 
seventh part of his available army, and he was now 
clearly in need of reinforcements as well as sup- 
plies. But no word had yet come from Sir Wil- 
liam Howe, and the news from St. Leger was any- 
thing but encouraging. It is now time for us to 
turn westward and follow the wild fortunes of the 
second invading column. 

About the middle of July, St. Leger had landed 
at Oswego, where he was joined by Sir John John- 
son with his famous Tory regiment known as the 



286 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Royal Greens, and Colonel John Butler with his 

company o Tory rangers. Great efforts had been 

made by Johnson to secure the aid of 

Lege^upSn ' the Iroquois tribes, but only with partial 

tfort Stanwix. T-I ,1 "r TT 

success. .tor once the Juong Mouse 
was fairly divided against itself, and the result of 
the present campaign did not redound to its future 
prosperity. The Mohawks, Tinder their great chief 
Thayendanegea, better known as Joseph Brant, 
entered heartily into the British cause, and they 
were followed, though with less alacrity, by the 
Cayugas and Senecas ; but the central tribe, the 
Onondagas, remained neutral. Under the influ- 
ence of the missionary, Samuel Kirkland, the 
Oneidas and Tuscaroras actively aided the Amer- 
icans, though they did not take the field. After 
duly arranging his motley force, which amounted 
to about 1,700 men, St. Leger advanced very cau- 
tiously through the woods, and sat down before 
Fort Stanwix on the 3d of August. This strong- 
hold, which had been built in 1756, on the water- 
shed between the Hudson and Lake Ontario, com- 
manded the main line of traffic between New York 
and Upper Canada. The, place was then on the 
very outskirts of civilization, and under the pow- 
erful influence of Johnson the Tory element was 
stronger here than in any other part of the state, 
Even here, however, the strength of the patriot 
party turned out to be much greater than had been 
supposed, and at the approach of the enemy the 
people began to rise in arms. In this part of New 
York there were many Germans, whose ancestors 
had come over to America during the horrors of 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 287 

he Thirty Years' War; and among these there 
was one stout patriot whose name shines conspicu- 
ously in the picturesque annals of the Kevolution. 
General Nicholas Herkimer, commander 
of the militia of Tryon County, a vet- marches 1 

. f against Mm. 

eran over sixty years ot age, no sooner 
heard of St. Leger's approach than he started out 
to the rescue of Fort Stanwix ; and by the 5th of 
August he had reached Oriskany, about eight 
miles distant, at the head of 800 men. The gar- 
rison of the fort, 600 in number, under Colonel 
Peter Gansevoort, had already laughed to scorn 
St. Leger's summons to surrender, when, on the 
morning of the 6th, they heard a distant firing to 
the eastward, which they could not account for. 
The mystery was explained when three friendly 
messengers floundered through a dangerous swamp 
into the fort, and told them of Herldmer's ap- 
proach and of his purpose. The plan was to over- 
whelm St. Leger by a concerted attack in front 
and rear. The garrison was to make a furious 
sortie, while Herkimer, advancing through the for- 
est, was to fall suddenly upon the enemy from be- 
hind; and thus it was hoped that his H erMmer's 
army might be crushed or captured at a 3?lan - 
single blow. To insure completeness of coopera- 
tion, Colonel Gansevoort was to fire three guns 
immediately upon receiving the message, and upon 
hearing this signal Herkimer would begin his march 
from Oriskany. Gansevoort would then make 
such demonstrations as to keep the whole attention 
of the enemy concentrated upon the fort, and thus 
guard Herkimer against a surprise by the way, 



288 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, 

until, after the proper interval of time, the garrison 
should sally forth in full force. 

In this bold scheme everything depended upon 
absolute coordination in time. Herkimer had dis- 
patched his messengers so early on the evening of 
the 5th that they ought to have reached the fort 
by three o'clock the next morning, and at about 
that time he began listening for the signal-guns. 
But through some unexplained delay it was nearly 
eleven in the forenoon when the messengers 
reached the fort, as just described. Meanwhile, as 
hour after hour passed by, and no signal-guns 
were heard by Herkimer's men, they grew impa- 
tient, and insisted upon going ahead, without re- 
Faaure of the g ar( l to the preconcerted plan. Much 
plan * unseemly wrangling ensued, in which 

Herkimer was called a, ccward and accused of be- 
ing a Tory at heart, until, stung by these taunts, 
the brave old man at length gave way, and at 
about nine o'clock the forward march was resumed. 
At this time his tardy messengers still lacked two 
hours of reaching the fort, but St. Leger's Indian 
scouts had already discovered and reported the ap- 
proach of the American force, and a strong detach- 
ment of Johnson's Greens under Major Watts, to- 
gether with Brant and his Mohawks, had been 
sent out to intercept them. 

About two miles west of Oriskany the road was 
crossed by a deep semicircular ravine, concave 

Tlmyendane- toWard ^ east. The bottom of this 

S a aSSde, ravine ^as a swamp, across which the 

road was carried by a causeway of logs, 

and the steep banks on either side were thickly 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 289 

covered with trees and underbrush. The prac- 
tised eye of Thayendanegea at once perceived the 
rare advantage of such a position, and an am- 
buscade was soon prepared with a skill as deadly 
as that which once had wrecked the proud army 
of Braddock. But this time it was a meeting of 
Greek with Greek, and the wiles of the savage 
chief were foiled by a desperate valour which noth- 
ing could overcome. By ten o'clock the main body 
of Herkimer's army had descended into the ravine, 
followed by the wagons, while the rear-guard was 
still on the rising ground behind. At this moment 
they were greeted by a murderous volley from 
either side, while Johnson's Greens came charging 
down upon them in front, and the Indians, with 
frightful yells, swarmed in behind and 
cut off the rear-guard, which was thus *Ly*L%.l 
obliged to retreat to save itself. For a 
moment the main body was thrown into confusion, 
but it soon rallied and formed itself in a circle, 
which neither bayonet charges nor musket fire 
could break or penetrate. The scene which ensued 
was one of the most infernal that the history of 
savage warfare has ever witnessed. The dark ra- 
vine was filled with a mass of fifteen hundred hu- 
man beings, screaming and cursing, slipping in the 
mire, pushing and struggling, seizing each other's 
throats, stabbing, shooting, and dashing out brains. 
Bodies of neighbours were afterwards found lying 
in the bog, where they had gone down in a death- 
grapple, their cold hands still grasping the knives 
plunged ia each other's hearts. 

Early in the fight a musket-ball slew Herkimer's 



290 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

horse, and shattered his own leg just below the 
knee ; but the old hero, nothing daunted, and bat- 
ing nothing of his coolness in the midst of the hor- 
rid struggle, had the saddle taken from his dead 
horse and placed at the foot of a great beech-tree, 
where, taking his seat and lighting his pipe, he 
continued shouting his orders in a stentorian voice 
and directing the progress of the battle. Nature 
presently enhanced the lurid horror of the scene. 
The heat of the August morning had been intoler- 
able, and black thunder-clouds, overhanging the 
deep ravine -at the beginning of the action, had 
enveloped it in a darkness like that of night. 
Ifow the rain came pouring in torrents, while gusts 
of wind howled through the tree-tops, and sheets 
of lightning flashed in quick succession, with a 
continuous roar of thunder that drowned the noise 
of the fray. The wet rifles could no longer be 
fired, but hatchet, knife, and bayonet carried on 
the work of butchery, until, after more than five 
hundred men had been killed or wounded, the In- 
dians gave way and fled in all directions, and the 
Retreat of the Tory soldiers, disconcerted, began to re- 
Tones, treat up the western road, while the pa- 
triot army, remaining in possession of the hard- 
won field, felt itself too weak to pursue them. 

At this moment, as the storm cleared away and 
long rays of sunshine began flickering through the 
wet leaves, the sound of the three signal-guns came 
booming through the air, and presently a sharp 
crackling of musketry was heard from the direc- 
tion of Fort Stanwix. Startled by this ominous 
sound, the Tories made all possible haste to join 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 291 

their own army, while the patriots, bearing their 
wounded on litters of green boughs, returned in sad 
procession to Oriskany. With their commander 
helpless and more than one third of Retreat of the 
their number slain or disabled, they were patriot anuy * 
in no condition to engage in a fresh conflict, and 
unwillingly confessed that the garrison of Fort 
Stanwix must be left to do its part of the work 
alone. Upon the arrival of the messengers, Colo- 
nel Gansevoort had at once taken in the whole 
situation. He understood the mysterious firing in 
the forest, saw that Herkimer must have been pre- 
maturely attacked, and ordered his sortie instantly, 
to serve as a diversion. The sortie was a brilliant 
success. Sir John Johnson, with his Tories and 
Indians, was completely routed and driven across 
the river. Colonel Marinus Willett took - , 1W 

Colonel Wil- 

possession of his camp, and held it while letfc ' s aortie - 
seven wagons were three times loaded with spoil 
and sent to be unloaded in the fort. Among all 
tills spoil, together with abundance of food and 
drink, blankets and clothes, tools and ammunition, 
the -victors captured five British standards, and all 
Johnson's papers, maps, and memoranda, contain- 
ing full instructions for the projected campaign. 
After this useful exploit, Colonel Willett returned 
to the fort and hoisted the captured British stand- 
ards, while over them he raised an uncouth flag, 
intended to represent the American 
stars and stripes, which Congress had of?hestan?* 
adopted in June as the national banner. ** stnpes * 
This rude flag, hastily extemporized out of a white 
shirt, an old blue jacket, and some strips of red 



292 THJE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

clotli from the petticoat of a soldier's wife, was tlae 
first American flag with stars and stripes that was 
ever hoisted, and it was first flung to the breeze on 
the memorable day of Oriskany, August 6, 177T. 

Of all the battles of the Revolution, this was 
perhaps the most obstinate and murderous. Each 
side seems to have lost not less than one third o 
its whole number ; and of those lost, nearly all 
were killed, as it was largely a hand-to-hand strug- 
gle, like the battles of ancient times, and no quar- 
ter was given on either side. The number of 
surviving wounded, who were carried back to 
Oriskany, does not seem to have exceeded forty. 
Death of Among these was the indomitable Her- 
Herkimer. timer, whose shattered leg was so unskil- 
fully treated that he died a few days later, sitting 
in bed propped by pillows, calmly smoking his 
Dutch pipe and reading Ms Bible at the thirty- 
eighth Psalm. 

For some little time no one could tell exactly 
how the results of this fierce and disorderly day 
were to be regarded. Both sides claimed a victory, 
and St. Leger vainly tried to scare the garrison by 
the story that their comrades had been destroyed 
in the forest. But in its effects upon the cam- 
paign, Oriskany was for the Americans a success, 
though an incomplete one. St. Leger was not 
crushed, but he was badly crippled. The sacking 
of Johnson's camp injured his prestige in the 
neighbourhood, and tlie Indian allies, who had lost 
more than a hundred of their best warriors on that 
fatal morning, grew daily more sullen and refrac- 
tory, until their strange behaviour came to be a 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 293 

fresh, source of anxiety to the British commander. 
While he was pushing on the siege as well as he 
could, a force of 1,200 troops, under Arnold, was 
marching up the Mohawk valley to complete his 
discomfiture. 

As soon as he had heard the news of the faE of 
Ticonderoga, Washington had dispatched Arnold 
to render such assistance as he could to the north- 
ern army, and Arnold had accordingly arrived at 
Schuyler's headquarters about three 

__ . _ .1-11 Arnold arrives 

weeks ago. Before leaving JPhiladel- ** scimyier's 

. camp, 

phia, he had appealed to Congress to re- 
store him^to his former rank relatively to the five 
junior officers who had been promoted over him, 
and he had just learned that Congress had refused 
the request. At this moment, Colonel Willett and 
another officer, after a perilous journey through 
the wilderness, arrived at Schuyler's headquarters, 
and, bringing the news of Oriskany, begged that a 
force might be sent to raise the siege of T?ort Stan- 
wix. Schuyler understood the importance of res- 
cuing the stronghold and its brave garrison, and 
called a council of war ; but he was bitterly op- 
posed by his officers, one of whom presently said 
to another, in an audible whisper, " He only wants 
to weaken the army ! " At this vile insinuation, 
the indignant general set his teeth so hard as to 
bite through the stem of the pipe he was smok- 
ing, which fell on the floor and was smashed,, 
" Enough ! " he cried, " I assume the whole re- 
sponsibility. Where is the brigadier who will 
go 1 " The brigadiers all sat in sullen silence ; 
but Arnold, who had been brooding over his pri- 



294 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

vate grievances, suddenly jumped up. " Here ! " 
said he. " Washington sent me here to make my- 
self useful : I will go." The commander gratefully 
seized him by the hand, and the drum 
teers to relieve beat for volunteers. Arnold's nnpopu- 

Fort Stanwix. _ . . ~ T _, _ _ . 1 . . 

larity in .New England was mainly with 
the politicians. It did not extend to the common 
soldiers, who admired his impulsive bravery and 
had unbounded faith in his resources as a leader. 
Accordingly, 1,200 Massachusetts men were easily 
enlisted in the course of the next forenoon, and 
the expedition started up the Mohawk valley. Ar- 
nold pushed on with characteristic energy, but the 
natural difficulties of the road were such that after 
a week of hard work he had only reached the Ger- 
man Flats, where he was still more than twenty 
miles from Fort Stanwix. Believing that no time 
should be lost, and that everything should be done 
to encourage the garrison and dishearten the en- 
emy, he had recourse to a stratagem, which suc- 
ceeded beyond his utmost anticipation. A party 
of Tory spies had just been arrested in the neigh- 
bourhood, and among them was a certain Yan Yost 
Cuyler, a queer, half-witted fellow, not devoid of 
cunning, whom the Indians regarded with that 
mysterious awe with which fools and lunatics are 
wont to inspire them, as creatures possessed with a 
devil. Yan Yost was summarily condemned to 
death, and his brother and gypsy-like mother, in 
wild alarm, hastened to the camp, to plead for his 
life. Arnold for a while was inexorable, but pres- 
ently offered to pardon the culprit on condition 
that he should go and spread a panic in the camp 



BLOW AT THE CENTEE, 295 

of St. Leger. Yan Yost joyfully consented, and 
Yan Yost cuy~ started off forthwith, while his brother 
ler * was detained as a hostage, to be hanged 

in case of his failure. To make the matter still 
surer, some friendly Oneidas were sent along to 
keep an eye upon him and act in concert with Hm 
Next day, St. Leger's scouts, as they stole through 
the forest, began to hear rumours that Burgoyne 
had been totally defeated, and that a great Ameri- 
can army was coming up the valley of the Mohawk. 
They carried back these rumours to the camp, and 
toward evening, while officers and soldiers were 
standing about in anxious consultation, Yan Yost 
came running in, with a dozen bullet-holes in his 
coat and terror in his face, and said that he had 
barely escaped with his life from the resistless 
American host which was close at hand. As many 
knew him for a Tory, his tale found ready belief, 
and when interrogated as to the numbers of the 
advancing host he gave a warning frown, and 
pointed significantly to the countless leaves that 
fluttered on the branches overhead. Nothing 
more was needed to complete the panic. It was in 
vain that Johnson and St. Leger exhorted and 
threatened the Indian allies. Already disaffected, 
they now began to desert by scores, while some, 
breaking open the camp chests, drank rum till they 
were drunk, and began to assault the 
soldiers. All night long the camp was Lefer, Aug.' 
a perfect Pandemonium. The riot ex- 
tended to the Tories, and by noon of the next day 
St. Leger took to flight and his whole army was dis- 
persed. All the tents, artillery, and stores fell into 



296 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

the bands of the Americans. The garrison, sally- 
ing forth, pursued St. Leger for a while, but the 
faithless Indians, enjoying his discomfiture, and 
willing to curry favour with the stronger party, 
kept up the chase nearly all the way to Oswego; 
laying ambushes every night, and diligently mur- 
dering the stragglers, until hardly a remnant of an 
army was left to embark with its crest-fallen leader 
for Montreal. 

The news of this catastrophe reached Burgoyne 
before he had had time to recover from the news 
of the disaster at Bennington. Burgoyne's situa- 
tion was now becoming critical. Lin- 
dangerous coin, with a strong force of militia, was 

situation. _ . . ... 

hovering in ms rear, while the main 
army before him was gaining in numbers day by 
day. Putnam had just sent up reinforcements from 
the Highlands ; Washington had sent Morgan 
with 500 sharpshooters ; and Arnold was hurrying 
back from Fort Stanwix. Not a word had come 
from Sir William Howe, and it daily grew more 
difficult to get provisions. 

Just at this time, when everything was in readi- 
ness for the final catastrophe, General Gates ar- 
rived from Philadelphia, to take command of the 
northern army, and reap the glory, earned by 
other men. On the first day of August, before 
the first alarm occasioned by Burgoyne's advance 
had subsided, Congress had yielded to 

Schuyler su- ' J 

p^eded by the pressure ot bchuyler s enemies, and 

removed him from his command ; and 

on the following day Gates was appointed to take 

his place. Congress was led to take this step 



SECOND BLOW AT THE CENTRE. 297 

tlirougli the belief tliat the personal hatred felt to- 
ward Schuyler by many of the New England peo- 
ple would prevent the enlisting of militia to sup- 
port him. The events of the next fortnight showed 
that in this fear Congress was quite mistaken. 
There can now be no doubt that the appointment 
of the incompetent Gates was a serious blunder, 
which might have ruined the campaign, and did in 
the end occasion much trouble, both for Congress 
and for Washington. Sehuyler received the un- 
welcome news with the noble unselfishness which 
always characterized him. At no time did he show 
more zeal and diligence than during his last week 
of command; and on turning over the army to 
General Gates he cordially offered his aid, whether 
by counsel or action, in whatever capacity his suc- 
cessor might see fit to suggest. But so far from 
accepting this offer, Gates treated him with con- 
tumely, and would not even invite him to attend 
his first council of war. Such silly behaviour 
called forth sharp criticisms from discerning people. 
" The new commander-in-chief of the northern de- 
partment," said Gouverneur Morris, " may, if he 
please, neglect to ask or disdain to receive advice ; 
but those who know him will, I am sure, be con- 
vinced that he needs it." 

When Gates thus took command of the north- 
ern army, it was stationed along the western bank 
of the Hudson, from Still water down Positiouof 
to Halfmoon, at the mouth of the JS^^^. 
Mohawk, while Burgoyne's troops were Sept * 12 - 
encamped along the eastern bank, some thirty 
miles higher up, from Fort Edward down to the 



298 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.' 

BattenMll. For the next three weeks no move- 
ments were made on either side ; and we must now 
leave the two armies confronting each other in 
these two positions, while we turn our attention 
southward, and see what Sir William Howe was 
doing, and how it happened that Burgoyne had as 
yet heard nothing from him., 



CHAPTER VH. 

SARATOGA. 

WE have seen how, owing to the gross negli- 
gence of Lord George Germain, discretionary 
power had been left to Howe, while entirely taken 
away from Burgoyne. The latter had no choice 
but to move down the Hudson. The former was 
instructed to move up the Hudson, but at the same 
time was left free to depart from the 
strict letter of his instructions, should S^cLs- 
there be any manifest advantage in so apeakeBay * 
doing. Nevertheless, the movement up the Hud- 
son was so clearly prescribed by all sound military 
considerations that everybody wondered why Howe 
did not attempt it. Why he should have left his 
brother general in the lurch, and gone sailing off to 
Chesapeake Bay, was a mystery which no one was 
able to unravel, until some thirty years ago a doc- 
ument was discovered which has thrown much light 
upon the question. Here there steps again upon 
the scene that miserable intriguer, whose presence 
in the American army had so nearly wrecked the 
fortunes of the patriot cause, and who CharlesLeeiB 
now, in captivity, proceeded to act the ^p* 1 ^ 
part of a doubly-dyed traitor, A marplot and 
mischief-maker from beginning to end, Charles 
Lee never failed to work injury to whichever party 



300 THE AMEEICAN DEVOLUTION. 

Ms selfish vanity or craven fear inclined him for 
the moment to serve. We Lave seen how, on 
the day when he was captured and taken to the 
British camp, his first thought was for his personal 
safety, which he might well suppose to be in some 
jeopardy, since he had formerly held the rank of 
lieutenant-colonel in the British army. He was 
taken to New York and confined in the City Hall, 
where he was treated with ordinary courtesy ; but 
there is no doubt that Sir William Howe looked 
upon him as a deserter, and was more than half 
inclined to hang him without ceremony. Fearing, 
however, as he said, that he might " fall into a law 
scrape," should he act too hastily, Sir William 
wrote home for instructions, and in reply was di- 
rected by Lord George Germain to send his pris- 
oner to England for trial. In pursuance of this 
order, Lee had already been carried on board ship, 
when a letter from Washington put a stop to these 
proceedings. The letter informed General Howe 
that Washington held five Hessian field-officers as 
hostages for Lee's personal safety, and that all 
exchange of prisoners would be suspended until due 
assnrance should be received that Lee was to be 
recognized as a prisoner of war. After reading 
this letter General Howe did not dare to send Lee 
to England for trial, for fear of possible evil con- 
sequences to the five Hessian officers, which might 
cause serious disaffection among the German troops. 
The king approved of this cautious behaviour, and 
so Lee was kept in New York, with his fate unde- 
cided, until it had become quite clear that neither 
arguments nor threats could avail one jot to shake 



SARATOGA. 801 

Washington's determination. When Lord George 
Germain had become convinced of this, he per- 
suaded the reluctant king to yield the point ; and 
Howe was accordingly instructed that Lee, al- 
though worthy o condign punishment, should he 
deemed a prisoner of war, and might be exchanged 
as such, whenever convenient. 

All this discussion necessitated the exchange of 
several letters between London and New York, so 
that a whole year elapsed before the question was 
settled. It was not until December 12, 17T7, that 
Howe received these final instructions. But Lee 
had not been idle all this time while his fate was 
in suspense. Hardly had the key been turned 
upon him in his rooms at the City Hall when he 
began his intrigues. First, he assured Lord Howe 
and his brother that he had always opposed the 
declaration of independence, and even now cher- 
ished hopes that, by a judiciously arranged inter- 
view with some of the delegates in Congress, he 
might persuade the misguided people of America 
to return to their old allegiance* Lord Howe, who 
always kept one hand on the olive-branch, eagerly 
caught at the suggestion, and permitted Lee to 
send a letter to Congress, urging that a ^^ of 
committee be sent to confer with him, ohariesLee. 
as he had " important communications to make." 
Could such a conference be brought about, he 
thought, his zeal for effecting a reconciliation would 
interest the Howes in his favour, and might save 
his precious neck. Congress, however, flatly re- 
fused to listen to the proposal, and then the wretch, 
without further ado, went over to the enemy, and 



802 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

began to counsel with tlie British commanders 
how they might best subdue the Americans in the 
summer campaign. He went so far as to write out 
for the brothers Howe a plan of operations, giv- 
ing them the advantage of what was supposed to 
be his intimate knowledge of the conditions of the 
case. This document the Howes did not care to 
show after the disastrous event of the campaign, 
and it remained hidden for eighty years, until it 
was found among the domestic archives of the 
Strachey family, at Sutton Court, in Somerset. 
The first Sir Henry Strachey was secretary to the 
Howes from 1775 to 1778. The document is in 
Lee's well-known handwriting, and is indorsed by 
Strachey as " Mr. Lee's plan, March 29, 1777." 
In this document Lee maintains that if the state 
of Maryland could be overawed, and the people of 
Virginia prevented from sending aid to Pennsyl- 
vania, then Philadelphia might be taken and held, 
and the operations of the " rebel government " par- 
alyzed. The Tory party was known to be strong 
in Pennsylvania, and the circumstances under 
which Maryland had declared for independence, 
last of all the colonies save New York, were such 
as to make it seem probable that there also the 
loyalist feeling was very powerful. Lee did not 
hesitate to assert, as of his own personal know- 
ledge, that the people of Maryland and Pennsylva- 
nia were nearly all loyalists, who only awaited the 
arrival of a British army in order to declare them- 
selves. He therefore recommended that 14,000 
men should drive Washington out of New Jersey 
and capture Philadelphia, while the remainder of 



SARATOGA. 803 

Howe's army, 4,000 in number, should go around 
"by sea to Chesapeake Bay, and occupy Alexandria 
and Annapolis. From these points, if Lord Howe 
were to issue a proclamation of amnesty, the pacifi- 
cation of the " central colonies " might be effected 
in less than two months ; and so confident of all 
this did the writer feel that he declared himself 
ready to "stake his life upon the issue," a remark 
which betrays, perhaps, what was uppermost in his 
mind throughout the whole proceeding. At the 
same time, he argued that offensive operations to- 
ward the north could not " answer any sort of 
purpose," since the northern provinces "are at 
present neither the seat of government, strength, 
nor politics ; and the apprehensions from General 
Carleton's army will, I am confident, keep the 
New Englanders at home, or at least confine 'em 
to the east side the [Hudson] river." 

It will be observed that this plan of Lee's was 
similar to that of Lord George Germain, in so 
far as it aimed at thrusting the British power like 
a wedge into the centre of the confederacy, and thus 
cutting asunder New England and Virginia, the 
two chief centres of the rebellion. But instead of 
aiming his blow at the Hudson river, Lee aims it 
at Philadelphia, as the " rebel capital ; " and his 
reason for doing this shows how little lie under- 
stood American affairs, and how strictly he viewed 
them in the light of his military experience in 
Europe. In European warfare it is cus- Follyof moy . 
tomary to strike at tke enemy's capi- agpg^ 
tal city, in order to get control of his " rebel a 
whole system of administration ; but that the pos- 



304 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

session of an enemy's capital is not always deck 
sive the wars of Napoleon have most abundantly 
proved. The battles of Austerlitz in 1805 and 
Wagram in 1809 were fonght by Napoleon after 
he had entered Vienna; it was not his acquisition 
of Berlin in 1806, but his victory at Friedland in 
the following summer, that completed the over- 
throw of Prussia; and where he had to contend 
against a strong and united national feeling, as in 
Spain and Russia, the possession of the capital did 
not help him in the least. Nevertheless, in Euro- 
pean countries, where the systems of administra- 
tion are highly centralized, it is usually advisable 
to move upon the enemy's capital. But to apply 
such a principle to Philadelphia in 1777 was the 
height of absurdity. Philadelphia had been se- 
lected for the meetings of the Continental Con- 
gress because of its geographical position. It was 
the most centrally situated of our large towns, 
but it was in no sense the centre of a vast admin- 
istrative machinery. If taken by an enemy, it was 
only necessary for Congress to move to any other 
town, and everything would go on as before. As 
it was not an administrative, so neither was it a 
military centre. It commanded no great system of 
interior highways, and it was comparatively diffi- 
cult to protect by the fleet. It might be argued, 
on the other hand, that because Philadelphia was 
the largest town in the United States, and pos- 
sessed of a certain preeminence as the seat of 
Congress, the acquisition of it by the invaders 
would give them a certain moral advantage. It 
would help the Tory party, and discourage the 



SARATOGA. 305 

patriots. Suet a gain, however, would be trifling 
compared with the loss which might come Irom 
Howe's failure to cooperate with Burgoyne; and 
so the event most signally proved. 

Just how far the Howes were persuaded by Lee's 
arguments must be a matter of inference. The 
course which they ultimately pursued, in close con- 
formity with the suggestions of this remarkable 
document, was so disastrous to the British cause that 
the author might almost seem to have been inten- 
tionally luring them off on a false scent. EffectofLee , a 
One would gladly take so charitable a advice - 
view of the matter, were it not both inconsistent 
with what we have already seen of Lee, and utterly 
negatived by his scandalous behaviour the following 
year, after his restoration to his command in the 
American army. We cannot doubt that Lee gave 
his advice in sober earnest. That considerable 
weight was attached to it is shown by a secret let- 
ter from Sir William Howe to Lord George Ger- 
main, dated the 2d of April, or four days after 
the date of Lee's extraordinary document. In this 
letter, Howe intimates for the first time that he 
has an expedition in mind which may modify the 
scheme for a joint campaign with the northern 
army along the line of the Hudson. To this sug- 
gestion Lord George replied on the 18th of May : 
" I trust that whatever you may meditate will be 
executed in time for you to cooperate with the 
army to proceed from Canada," It was a few 
days after this that Lord George, perhaps feeling 
a little uneasy about the matter, wrote that imper- 
ative order which lay in its pigeon-hole in Londoa 
until all the damage was done. 



S06 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

With these data at our command, it becomes 
easy to comprehend General Howe's movements 
during the spring and summer. His first inten- 
tion was to push across New Jersey with the great 
body of his army, and occupy Philadelphia ; and 
since he had twice as many men as Washington, 
lie might hope to do this in time to get back to the 
Hudson as soon as he was likely to be needed there. 
He began his march on the 12th of June, five days 
before Burgoyne's flotilla started southward on 
Lake Champlain. The enterprise did not seem 
hazardous, but Howe was completely foiled by 
, Washington's superior strategy* Before 
masterly cam- the British commander had fairly be- 

paign in N ew ^ . 

jersey, June, gtm to move, Washington, irom various 
symptoms, divined his purpose, and 
coming down from his lair at Morristown, planted 
himself on the heights of Middlebrook, within ten 
miles of New Brunswick, close upon the flank of 
Howe's line of march. Such a position, occupied by 
8,000 men under such a general, was equivalent to 
a fortress which it would not do for Howe to pass 
by and leave in his rear. But the position was so 
strong that to try to storm it would be to invite 
defeat. It remained to be seen what could be done 
by manoeuvring. The British army of 18,000 men 
was concentrated at New Brunswick, with plenty 
of boats for crossing the Delaware river, when 
that obstacle should be reached. But the really 
insuperable obstacle was close at hand. A cam- 
paign of eighteen days ensued, consisting of wily 
marches and counter-marches* the result of which 
showed that Washington's advantage of position 



SARATOGA. 307 

could not be wrested from him. Howe could 
neither get by Mm nor outwit him, and was too 
prudent to attack him; and accordingly, on the 
last day of June, he abandoned his first plan, and 
evacuated New Jersey, taking his whole army over 
to Staten Island. 

This campaign has attracted far less attention 
than it deserves, mainly, no doubt, because it con- 
tained no battles or other striking incidents. It 
was purely a series of strategic devices. But in 
point of military skill it was, perhaps, as remark- 
able as anything that Washington ever did, and it 
certainly occupies a cardinal position in the history 
of the overthrow of Burgoyne. For if Howe had 
been able to take Philadelphia early in the sum- 
mer, it is difficult to see what could have prevented 
him from returning and ascending the Hudson, in 
accordance with the plan of the ministry. Now 
the month of June was gone, and Burgoyne was 
approaching Ticonderoga. Howe ought to have 
held himself in readiness to aid him, but he could 
not seem to get Philadelphia, the " rebel capital," 
out of his mind. His next plan coincided remark- 
ably with the other half of Lee's scheme. He de- 
cided to go around to Philadelphia by uncertainty 
sea, but he was slow in starting, and next mo^' s 
seems to have paused for a moment to ments * 
watch the course of events at the north. He be* 
gan early in July to put his men on board ship, 
but confided his plans to no one but Cornwallis 
and Grant ; and his own army, as well as the 
Americans, believed that this show of going to sea 
was only a feint to disguise his real intention. 



808 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION* 

Every one supposed that he would go up the Hud- 
son. As soon as New Jersey was evacuated Wash- 
ington moved back to Morfistown, and threw his 
advance, under Sullivan, as far north as Pompton, 
so as to be ready to cooperate with Putnam in the 
Highlands, at a moment's notice. As soon as it 
became known that Ticonderoga had fallen, Wash- 
ington, supposing that his adversary would do what 
a good general ought to do, advanced into the 
Eamapo Clove, a rugged defile in the Highlands, 
near Haverstraw, and actually sent the divisions o 
Sullivan and Stirling across the river to Peeks* 
Mil. 

All this while Howe kept moving some of his 
ships, now up the Hudson, now into the Sound, 
now off from Sandy Hook, so that people might 
doubt whether his destination were the Highlands, 
or Boston, or Philadelphia. Probably his own mind 
was not fully made up until after the news from 
Ticonderoga. Then, amid the general exultation, 
he seems to have concluded that Burgoyne would 
be able to take care of himself, at least with such 
cooperation as he might get from Sir Henry Clin- 
ton. In this mood he wrote to Burgoyne as follows : 
" I have . . . heard from the rebel army of your 
being in possession of Ticonderoga, which is a great 
event, carried without loss. . . . Washington is 
Howe's letter wa ^ n g our motions here, and has de- 
to Burgoyne. tached Sullivaa with about 2,500 men, 
as I learn, to Albany. My intention is for Penn- 
sylvania, where I expect to meet Washington ; but 
if he goes to the northward, contrary to my expec- 
tations, and you can keep him at bay, be assured I 



SARATOGA. 309 

shall soon be after him to relieve you. After your 
arrival at Albany, the movements of the enemy 
will guide yours ; but my wishes are that the enemy 
be drove [sic] out of this province before any 
operation takes place in Connecticut. Sir Henry 
Clinton remains in the command here, and will act 
as occurrences may direct. Putnam is in the High- 
lands with about 4,000 men. Success be ever with 
you." This letter, which was written on very nar- 
row strips of thin paper, and conveyed in a quill, 
did not reach Burgoyne till the middle of Septem- 
ber, when things wore a very different aspect from 
that which they wore in the middle of July, Noth- 
ing could better illustrate the rash, overconfident 
spirit in which Howe proceeded to carry out his 
southern scheme. A few days afterward he put to 
sea with the fleet of 228 sail, carrying an army of 
18,000 men, while 7,000 were left in New York, 
under Sir Henry Clinton, to garrison the city and 
act according to circumstances. Just before sailing 
Howe wrote a letter to Burgoyne, stating that the 
destination of his fleet was Boston, and he artfully 
contrived that this letter should fall into "Washing- 
ton's hands. But Washington was a difficult per- 
son to hoodwink. On reading the letter he rightly 
inferred that Howe had gone southward. Accord- 
ingly, recalling Sullivan and Stirling to the west 
side of the Hudson, he set out for the Delaware, 
but proceeded very cautiously, lest Howe should 
suddenly retrace his course, and dart up the Hud- 
son. To guard against such an emergency, he let 
Sullivan advance no farther than Morristown, and 
kept everything in readiness for an instant counter 



310 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

march. In a letter of July 30th. lie writes, " Howe's 
in a manner abandoning 1 Burgoyne is so unaccounfc 
able a matter that, till I am fully assured of it, $ 
cannot help casting my eyes continually behind 
me" Next day, learning that the fleet had arrived 
at the Capes of Delaware, he advanced to German- 
town; but on the day after, when he heard that 
the fleet had put out to sea again, he suspected 
that the whole movement had been a feint. He 
believed that Howe would at once return to the 
Hudson, and immediately ordered Sullivan to 
counter-march, while he held himself ready to fol- 
low at a moment's notice. His best gen- 

Comments of - . , i A i T 

Washington erals entertained the same opinion. " L 

and Greene. 1 - _ ... ~ 

cannot persuade myself, said (jrreene, 
" that General Burgoyne would dare to push with 
such rapidity towards Albany if he did not expect 
support from General Howe," A similar view of 
the military exigencies of the case was taken by 
the British officers, who, almost to a man, disap- 
proved of the southward movement. They knew 
as well as Greene that, however fine a city Phila- 
delphia might be, it was " an object of far less 
military importance than the Hudson river." 

No wonder that the American generals were 
wide of the mark in their conjectures, for the folly 
of Howe's movements after reaching the mouth 
of the Delaware was quite beyond credence, and 
would be inexplicable to-day except as the result 
Howe's ai- of the wild advice of the marplot Lee. 
Smped 8 up Howe alleged as his reason for turn- 

and worthless, j^ away fr()m ^ J) e l aware fa^ fa^Q 

were obstructions in the river and forts to pass, and 



SARATOGA. 811 

accordingly lie thought It best to go around by way 
of Chesapeake Bay, and land his army at Elkton. 
Now he might easily have gone a little way up the 
Delaware river without encountering any obstruc- 
tions whatever, and landed his troops at a point 
only thirteen miles east of Elkton. Instead of 
attempting this, he wasted twenty-four days in a 
voyage of four hundred miles, mostly against head- 
winds, in order to reach the same point ! No sen- 
sible antagonist could be expected to understand 
such eccentric behaviour. No wonder that, after it 
had become clear that the fleet had gone south- 
ward, Washington should have supposed an attack 
on Charleston to be intended. A council of war 
on the 21st decided that this must be the case, and 
since an overland march of seven hundred miles 
could not be accomplished in time to prevent such 
an attack, it was decided to go back to New York, 
and operate against Sir Henry Clinton. But be- 
fore this decision was acted on Howe appeared at 
the head of Chesapeake Bay, where he landed hii 
forces at Elkton. It was now the 25th of August, 
nine days after the battle of Bennington and 
three days after the flight of St. Leger. Since 



entering Chesapeake Bay, Howe had re- 
ceived Lord George Germain's letter &tep*i- 
of May 18th, telling him that whatever 



he had to do ought to be done in time for him to 
cooperate with Burgoyne. Now Burgoyne's situa- 
tion had become dangerous, and here was Howe at 
Elkton, fifty miles southwest of Philadelphia, with 
Washington's army in front of him, and more than 
three hundred miles away from Burgoyne I 



812 THE AMEEICAN REVOLUTION. 

On tearing of Howe's arrival at the head of 
Chesapeake Bay, Washington had advanced as far 
as Wilmington to meet him. The first proceeding 
of the British general, on landing at Elkton, was to 
issue his proclamation of amnesty ; but it did not 
bring him many recruits. A counter-proclamation,, 
drawn up by Luther Martin, sufficed to neutralize 
it. Though there were many people in the neigh- 
bourhood who cared little for the cause of indepen- 
dence, there were but few who sympathized with 
the invaders enough to render them any valuable 
assistance. It was through a country indifferent, 
perhaps, but not friendly in feeling, that the Brit- 
ish army cautiously pushed its way northward for 
a fortnight, until it reached the village of Kennett 
Square, six miles west of the Brandywine Creek, 
behind which Washington had planted himself to 
oppose its progress. 

The time had arrived when Washington felt it 
Washington^ Geeessar J to offer battle, even though 
t5 batti f ~ suc k a ste P m % nt not be justified from 
purely military reasons. The people 
were weary of a Fabian policy which they did not 
comprehend, and Washington saw that even if he 
were defeated, the moral effect upon the country 
would not be so bad as if he were to abandon Phil- 
adelphia without a blow. A victory he was hardly 
entitled to expect, since he had but 11,000 men 
against Howe's 18,000, and since the British were 
still greatly superior in equipment and discipline. 
Under these circumstances Washington chose his 
ground with his usual sagacity, and took possession 
of it by a swift and masterly movement. The 



SAEATOGLA. 813 

Brandywine Creek ran directly atliwart Howe's 
line of marcli to Philadelphia. Though large 
enough to serve as a military obstacle, in Eng- 
land it would be called a river, It was crossed 
by numerous fords, of which the principal one, 
Chadd's Ford, lay in Howe's way. Washington 
placed the centre of his army "just be- 

. J He chooses a 

hind Chadd's Ford and across the road, very strong 

position. 

His centre was defended in front by a 
corps of artillery under Wayne, while Greene, on 
some high ground in the rear, was stationed as a 
reserve. Below Chadd's Ford, the Brandywine 
becomes a roaring torrent, shut In between steep, 
high cliffs, so that the American left, resting upon 
these natural defences, was sufficiently guarded by 
the Pennsylvania militia under Armstrong, The 
right wing, stretching two miles up the stream, 
into an uneven and thickly wooded country, was 
commanded by Sullivan. 

This was a very strong position. On the left it 
was practically inaccessible. To try storming it 
in front would be a doubtful experiment, sure to 
result In terrible loss of life. The only weak point 
was the right, which could be taken in flank by a 
long circuitous march through the woods. Accord- 
ingly, on the morning of the llth of 
September, the British right wing, un- ^7*^ 
der Knyphausen, began skirmishing and 
occupying Washington's attention at Chadd's 
Ford ; while the left column, under the energetic 
Cornwallis, marched up the Lancaster road* 
crossed the forks of the Brandywine, and turned 
southward toward Birmingham church, with the 



814 TEE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

intention of striking the rear of the American 
right wing* It was similar to the flanking move- 
ment which had been tried so successfully at the 
battle of Long Island, a year before. It was .quite 
like the splendid movement of Stonewall Jackson 
at Chancellors vUle, eighty-five years afterward. 
In Howe's time such flanking marches were emi- 
nently fashionable. It was in this way that the 
great Frederick had won some of his most aston- 
ishing victories* They were, nevertheless, then as 
always, dangerous expedients, as the stupendous 
overthrow of the Austro-Russian army at Auster- 
litz was by and by to show. There is always a se- 
rious chance that the tables may be turned. Such 
flanking movements are comparatively safe, how- 
ever, when the attacking army greatly outnumbers 
the army attacked, as at the Brandywine. But in 
all cases the chief element in their success is se- 
crecy ; above all things, the party attacked must be 
kept in the dark. 

These points ara admirably illustrated in the 
battle of the Brandywine. The danger of a flank 
attack upon his right wing was well understood by 
Washington ; and as soon as he heard that Cora- 
wallis was marching up the Lancaster road, he 
considered the feasibleness of doing what Fredei> 
ick would probably have done, of crossing 
quickly at Chadd's and Brinton's fords, in full 
force, and crushing Knyphausen's division. This 
he could doubtless have accomplished, had he been 
so fortunate as to have inherited an army trained 
by the father of Frederick the Great. But Wash- 
ington's army was not yet well trained, and its 




BATTLE OF THE BRANDYWINE 
SEPTEMBER n, 1777 



SARATOGA. 315 

numerical inferiority was such that Knyphausen's 
division might of itself be regarded as a fair match. 
for it. The British movement was, therefore, well 
considered, and it was doubtless right that Wash- 
ington did not return the offensive by crossing the 
creek. Moreover, the organization of his staff was 
far from complete. He was puzzled by conflicting 
reports as to the enemy's movements. While con- 
sidering the question of throwing his whole force 
against Knyphausen, he was stopped by a false re- 
port that Cornwallis was not moving upon his 
flank. So great was the delay in getting intelli- 
gence that Cornwallis had accomplished his long 
march of eighteen miles, and was approaching Bir- 
mingham church, before it was well known where 
he was. Nevertheless, his intention of dealing a 
death-blow to the American army was forestalled 
and partially checked. Before he had reached our 
right wing, Washington had ordered Sullivan to 
form a new front and advance toward Birmingham 
church. Owing to the imperfect discipline of the 
troops, Sullivan executed the movement rather 
clumsily, but enough was accomplished to save the 
army from rout. In the obstinate and murderous 
fight which ensued near Birmingham church be- 
tween Cornwallis and Sullivan, the latter was at 
length slowly pushed back in the direction of Dil- 
worth. To save the army from being broken in 
two, it was now necessary for the centre to retreat 
upon Chester by way of Dil worth, and this move- 
ment was accomplished by Greene with consum- 
mate skill. It was now possible for Knyphausen 
to advance across Chadd's Ford against Wayne's 



316 2!fflS? AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

position ; and lie did so, aided by the right wing 
of Cornwallis's division, which, instead of joining 
in the oblique pursuit toward Dilwortb, kept 
straight onward, and came down upon Wayne's 
rear. Nothing was left for Wayne and Armstrong 
but to retreat and join the rest of the army at 
Chester, and so the battle of the Brandywine came 
to an end. 

This famous battle was admirably conducted on 
both sides. The risk assumed in the long flanking 
march of Cornwallis was fully justified. The poor 
organization of the American army was of course 
well known to the British commanders, and they 
took advantage of the fact. Had they been deal- 
ing with an organization as efficient as their own, 
their course would have been foolhardy. On the 
other hand, when we consider the relative strength 
of the two armies, it is clear that the bold move of 
Cornwallis ought not simply to have won the field 
of battle. It ought to have annihilated the Amer- 
ican army, had not its worst consequences been 
averted by Washington's promptness, aided by 
Sullivan's obstinate bravery and Greene's masterly 
conduct of the retreat upon Dilworth. As it was, 
the American soldiers came out of the fight in 
good order. Nothing could be more absurd than 
the careless statement, so often made, that the 
Americans were " routed " at the Brandywine. 
Their organization was preserved, and at Chester, 
next day, they were as ready for fight as ever. 
They had exacted from the enemy a round price 
for the victory. The American loss was a little 
more than 1 9 000, incurred chiefly in Sullivan's gal- 



SARATOGA. 817 

lant struggle; rolls afterward captured at Ger~ 
mantown showed that the British loss considerably 
exceeded that figure. 

So far as the possession of Philadelphia was 
concerned, the British victory was decisive. 
When the news came, next morning, that the army 
had retreated upon Chester, there was great con- 
sternation in the "rebel capital." Some timid 
people left their homes, and sought refuge in the 
mountains. Congress fled to Lancaster, first 
clothing Washington for sixty days with the same 
extraordinary powers which had been granted him 
the year before. Yet there was no need of such 
unseemly haste, for Washington de- 

i c Washington's 

tamed the victorious enemy a fortnight skin in detam- 

^ . ing the enemy. 

on the march or only twenty-six miles ; 
a feat which not even Napoleon could have per- 
formed with an army that had just been " routed." 
He had now heard of Stark's victory and St. Leg- 
er's flight, and his letters show how clearly he fore- 
saw Burgoyne's inevitable fate, provided Howe 
could be kept away from him. To keep Howe's 
whole force, employed near Philadelphia as long as 
possible was of the utmost importance. Accord- 
ingly, during the fortnight following the battle of 
the Brandywine, every day saw manoeuvres or 
skirmishes, in one of which General Wayne was 
defeated by Sir Charles Grey, with a loss of three 
hundred men. On the 26th, while The British 
Howe established his headquarters at aeiphi% h sept. 
Germantown, Cornwallis entered Phila- 2G ' 
delphia in triumph, marching with bands of music 
and flying colours, and all the troops decked out 
in their finest scarlet arrav. 



318 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Having got possession of the "rebel capital," 
the question now arose whether it would be possi- 
ble to hold it through the winter. The Delaware 
river, below the city, had been carefully ob- 
structed by chevaw-de~frise> which were guarded 
by two strong fortresses, Fort Mifflin 

Significance of J _ & . ' __ 

Forts Mereer on an island in mid-stream, and l<ort 

and Mifflin. 

Mercer on the Jersey shore. The river 
was here about two miles in width, but it was im- 
possible for ships to pass until the forts should 
have been reduced. About the first of October, 
after a rough return voyage of four hundred miles, 
Lord Howe's fleet appeared at the mouth of the 
Delaware. It was absolutely necessary to gain 
control of the river, in order that the city might 
get supplies by sea; for so long as Washington's 
army remained unbroken, the Americans were 
quite able to cut off aD supplies by land. Sir 
William Howe, therefore, threw a portion of his 
forces across the river, to aid his brother in redu- 
cing the forts. The quick eye of Washington now 
saw an opportunity for attacking the main British 
army, while thus temporarily weakened ; and he 
forthwith planned a brilliant battle, which was 
fated to be lost, at the very moment of victory, by 
an extraordinary accident. 

The village of Germantown, by the bank of the 
Schuylkill river, was then separated from Phila- 
delphia by about six miles of open country. The 
village consisted chiefly of a single street, 

The situation , ', , -, 

at German- about two miles in length, with stone 

town. _ . . 

nouses on either side, standing about a 
hundred yards apart from each other, and suiv 



SARATOGA. 819 

rounded by gardens and orchards. Near the upper 
end of the street, In the midst of ornamental shrub- 
bery, vases, and statues, arranged in a French style 
of landscape gardening, stood the massively built 
house of Benjamin Chew, formerly Chief Justice 
of Pennsylvania. About a mile below, at the 
Market House, the main street was crossed at right 
angles by the Old School Lane. Beside the main 
street, running over Chestnut Hill, the village was 
approached from the northward by three roads. 
The Monatawny road ran down by the bank of 
the Schuylkill, and, crossing the Old School Lane, 
bore on toward Philadelphia. The Limekiln road, 
coming from the northeast, became continuous with 
the Old School Lane. The Old York road, still 
further eastward, joined the main street at the Ris- 
ing Sun tavern, about two miles below the Market 
House. 

The British army lay encamped just behind the 
Old School Lane, in the lower part of the village : 
the left wing, under Knyphausen, to the west of 
the main street ; the right, under Grant, to the 
east. A strong detachment of chasseurs, under 
Sir Charles Grey, covered the left wing.. About 
a mile in advance of the army, Colonel Musgrave's 
regiment lay in a field opposite Judge Chew's 
house ; and yet a mile farther forward a battalion 
of light infantry was stationed on the slight emi- 
nence known as Mount Airy, where a small bat- 
tery commanded the road to the north. 

Washington's plan of attack seems to have con- 
templated nothing less than the destruction or 
capture of the British army. His forces were to ad- 



320 THE AMEHICAN REVOLUTION. 

vance from the north by all four roads at once, and 

converge upon the British at the Mar- 

Washington's & ^ . -14.- 

audacious ket House, lae American right wing, 



under Sullivan, and consisting of Sul- 
livan's own brigade, with those of Con way, Wayne, 
Maxwell, and Nash, was to march down the main 
street, overwhelm the advanced parties of the Brit- 
ish, and engage their left wing in front; while 
Armstrong, with the Pennsylvania militia, was to 
move down the Monatawny road, and take the 
same wing in flank. The American left wing, com- 
manded by Greene, was also to proceed in two col- 
umns. Greene, with his own brigade, supported 
by Stephen and McDougal, was to march down 
the Limekiln road, and assail the British right 
wing in front and in flank ; while Smallwood and 
Forman, coming down the Old York road, were 
to strike the same wing in the rear. The flank 
attack upon the British left, entrusted as it was to 
militia, was intended merely as a demonstration. 
The attack upon their right, conducted by more 
than half of the American army, including its best 
troops, was intended to crush that wing, and fold- 
ing back the whole British army upon, the Schuyl- 
kill river, compel it to surrender. 

Considering that the Americans had not even 
yet a superiority in numbers, this was a most auda- 
cious plan. No better instance could be given of 
the spirit of wild and venturous daring which was 
as conspicuous in Washington as his cautious vigi- 
lance, whenever any fit occasion arose for display- 
ing it. The scheme came surprisingly near to 
success ; so near as to redeem it from the imputa- 




BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN 
OCTOBER 4, 1777 



SARATOGA. 321 

tion of foolhardiness, and to show that here, as la 
all Washington's military movements, cool judg- 
ment went along with fiery dash At seven in the 
evening o the Sd of October, the night 
march upon Germantown began, Wash- SJSownf eiv 
ington accompanying Sullivan's column. Oct ' 4 ' 
At sunrise a heavy fog came up, and the darkness 
went 011 increasing. Soon after the hour of day- 
break the light infantry upon Mount Airy were 
surprised and routed, and the battery was cap- 
tured. Musgrave was next overwhelmed by the 
heavy American column ; but he, with a small 
force, took refuge in Judge Chew's house, and set 
up a brisk fire from the windows. The Americans 
opened an artillery-fire upon the house, but its 
stone walls were too solid to be beaten down by the 
three-pound and six-pound field-pieces of that day ; 
and so Maxwell's brigade was left behind to besiege 
the house, while the rest of the column rushed on 
down the street. The chief effect of this incident 
was to warn the enemy, while retarding and some- 
what weakening the American charge. Neverthe- 
less, the fury of the attack was such as to discon- 
cert Knyphausen's veterans, and the British left 
wing slowly gave way before Sullivan. At this 
moment, Greene, who had also been delayed, at- 
tacked the right wing with such vigour as presently 
to force it back toward the Market House. The 
British ranks were falling into confusion, and 
Small wood's column had already arrived upon their 
right flank, when the accident occurred whicn 
changed the fortunes of the day. From the begin- 
ning the dense fog had been, a source of confu* 



322 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

sion to both armies, and had seriously interfered 
with the solidity of the American advance. Now, 
as Stephen's brigade, on the right of Greene's 
column, came into the village, the heavy firing at 
Judge Chew's seems to have caused him to di- 
verge more and more to the west, in the belief 
that there was the thick of the battle. At the 
same time, Wayne, in driving the enemy before 
him, had swayed somewhat to the east, so that his 
brigade stood almost directly in the line of Ste- 
phen's progress. In this position he was attacked 
by Stephen, who mistook him for the enemy. This 
lamentable blunder instantly ruined the battle. 
"Wayne's men, thus fiercely attacked in the rear, 
and struggling to extricate themselves, were thrown 
upon the left flank of Sullivan's brigade, and a 
panic suddenly ran through the army. The con* 
fusion grew worse and worse, till a general retreat 
began, and Grey, who had come up to support the 
crumbling right wing of the British, was now able 
to lead in the pursuit of the Americans. He was 
joined by Cornwallis, who had sprung from his bed 
in Philadelphia at the first . sound of the cannon, 
and had brought up two battalions with him at 
double-quick. But the panic had subsided almost 
as soon as the golden moment of victory was lost, 
and the retreat was conducted in excellent order. 
One regiment in Greene's column was surrounded 
and captured, but the army brought away all its 
cannon and wounded, with several cannon taken 
from the enemy. The loss of the Americans in 
killed and wounded was 673, and the loss of the 
British was 535. 



SARATOGA. 823 

The fog which enshrouded the village o Ger- 
mantown on that eventful morning has been hardly 
less confusing to historians than it was to the 
armies engaged. The reports of different observers 
conflicted in many details, and particularly as to 
the immediate occasion of the fatal panic. The best 
accounts agree, however, that the entanglement of 
Stephen with Wayne was chiefly responsible for 
the disaster. It was charged against Stephen that 
he had taken too many pulls at his canteen on the 
long, damp night march, and he was tried by court- 
martial, and dismissed from the service. The 
chagrin o the Americans at losing the prize so 
nearly grasped was profound. The total rout of 
Howe, coming at the same time with the surrender 
of Burgoyne, would probably have been too much 
for Lord North's ministry to bear, and might have 
brought the war to a sudden close. As it was, the 
British took an undue amount of comfort in the 
acquisition of Philadelphia, though so long as 
Washington's army remained defiant it was of small 
military value to them. On the other hand, the 
genius and audacity shown by Washington, in 
thus planning and so nearly accomplishing the 
ruin of the British army only three weeks after 
the defeat at the Brandywine, produced a profound 
impression upon military critics in Europe. Fred- 
erick of Prussia saw that presently, when Ameri- 
can soldiers should come to be disciplined veterans, 
they would become a very formidable instrument 
in the hands of their great commander ; and the 
French court, in making up its mind that the 
Americans would prove efficient allies, is said to 



S24 THE AMERICAN EEVOLUTIQN* 

have been influenced almost as much by the battle 

of Germantown as by the surrender of Burgoyne. 

Having thus escaped the catastrophe which 

Washington had designed for him, the 

Howe captures T> , f i i i 

Forts Mercer .British commander was now able to put 

andMifflin. _ . * 

forth his utmost efforts for the capture 
of the forts on the Delaware. His utmost efforts 
were needed,' for in the first attack on Fort Mercer, 
October 22, the Hessians were totally defeated, 
with the loss of Count Donop and 400 men> while 
the Americans lost but 37. But after a month of 
hard work, with the aid of 6,000 more men sent 
from New York by Clinton, both forts were re- 
duced, and the command of the Delaware was 
wrested from the Americans. Another month of 
manoeuvring and skirmishing followed, and then 
Washington took his army into winter-quarters at 
Valley Forge. The events which attended his so- 
journ in that natural stronghold belong to a later 
period of the war. We must now return to the 
upper waters of the Hudson, and show how the 
whole period, which may be most fitly described 
as a struggle for the control of the great central 
state of New York, was brought to an end by the 
complete and overwhelming victory of the Ameri- 
cans. 

We have seen how it became impossible for 
Howe to act upon Lord George Germain's order, 
received in August, in Chesapeake Bay, and get 
back to the Hudson in time to be of any use to 
Burgoyne. We have also seen how critical was 
the situation in which the northern general was 



SARATOGA, 325 

left, after the destruction of Baum. and St. Leger, 
and the accumulation of New England yeomanry 
In his rear. Burgoyne now fully ac- Burg0 y ne 
knowledged the terrible mistake of the jJtaferro? o? s 
ministry in assuming that the resist- Germaln e. 
ance of the Americans was due to the machina- 
tions of a few wily demagogues, and that the peo- 
ple would hail the approach of the king's troops 
as deliverers. " The great bulk of the country," 
said he, " is undoubtedly with the Congress in 
principle and zeal, and their measures are exe- 
cuted with a secrecy and dispatch that are not to 
^e equalled. . . . The Hampshire Grants, in par- 
ticular, a country unpeopled and almost unknown 
last war, now abounds in the most active and most 
rebellious race on the continent, and hangs like a 
gathering storm upon my left." The situation 
had, indeed, become so alarming that it is hard to 
say what Burgoyne ought to have done. A retreat 
upon Ticonderoga would have been fraught with 
peril, while to cross the Hudson and advance upon 
Albany would be doing like Cortes, when he scut- 
tled his ships. But Burgoyne was a man of chiv- 
alrous nature. He did not think it right or pru- 
dent to abandon Sir William Howe, whom he still 
supposed to be coming up the river to meet him. 
In a letter to Lord George Germain, written three 
days after the surrender, he says, " The difficulty 
of a retreat upon Canada was clearly foreseen, as 
was the dilemma, should the retreat be effected, of 
leaving at liberty such an army as General Gates 7 s 
to operate against Sir William Howe. This con- 
sideration operated forcibly to determine me t? 



326 THE AMEEICAN EEVOLUTION. 

abide events as long as possible, and I reasoned 
thus : the expedition which I commanded was at 
first evidently intended to be hazarded ; circum- 
stances might require it should be devoted." 

Influenced by these views, which were supported 
by all his generals except Eiedesel, Burgoyne threw 

a bridge of boats across the Hudson 9 
he Bosses 6 the and passed over with his whole army on 
Hudson. ^^ ^g^ ^ September. The Ameri- 
cans had taken a strong position on Bemis Heights, 
where Kosciusko had skilfully fortified their camp 
with batteries and redoubts. Burgoyne felt that 
the time for desperate fighting had now come, and 
it seemed to him that the American position might 
be turned and carried by an attack upon its left 
flank. On the morning of the 19th, he advanced 
through the woods, with the centre of his army, 
toward the point where the Quaker road passes 
Bemis Heights. The right wing, under Fraser, 
proceeded somewhat more circuitously toward the 
same point, the plan being that they should join 
forces and strike the rear of the American camp, 
while Kledesel and Phillips, with the left wing and 
the artillery, marching down the river road, should 
assail it in front. Three heavy guns, announcing 
to the left wing the junction of Burgoyne and 

Fraser, were to give the signal for a 

First battle at *~ , t 

Freeman's general assault. American scouts, lurk- 
Farm, Sept. y 
19; indecisive. ing among the upper branches of tall 

trees that grew on steep hillsides, presently caught 
glimpses of bright scarlet flitting through the 
green depths of the forest, while the long sunbeams 
that found their way through the foliage sent back 




FIRST BATTLE AT FREEMAN'S FARM 
SEPTEMBER 19, 1777 



SARATOGA. 827 

quick burning flashes from a thousand bayonets. 
By noon the course of the British inarch and their 
plan of attack had been fully deciphered, and the 
intelligence was carried to Arnold, who commanded 
the left wing of the American army. Gates ap- 
pears to have been unwilling to let any of the 
forces descend from their strong position ; but the 
fiery Arnold urged and implored, until he got per- 
mission to take Moi'gan's riflemen and Dearborn's 
infantry, and go forth to attack the enemy. Ar- 
nold's advance, under Morgan, first fell upon Bur- 
goyne's advance, at Freeman's Farm, and checked 
its progress. Fraser then, hearing the musketry, 
turned eastward to the rescue, wMle Arnold, mov- 
ing upon Fraser's left, sought to cut him asunder 
from Burgoyne. He seemed to be winning the 
day, when he was attacked in flank by Riedesel, 
who had hurried up from the river road. Arnold 
had already sent to Gates for reinforcements, which 
were refused him. Arnold maintained that this 
was a gross blunder on the part of the command- 
ing general, and that with 2,000 more men he 
could now easily have crushed the British centre 
and defeated their army. In this opinion he was 
probably right, since even as it was he held his 
own, in a desperate fight, for two hours, until dark- 
ness put an end to the struggle. The losses on 
each side are variously estimated at from 600 to 
1,000, or from one fifth to one fourth of the forces 
engaged, which indicates severe fighting. Arnold's 
command had numbered about 3,000, and he had 
been engaged, in the course of the afternoon, with 
at least 4,000 of Burgoyne's army; yet all this 



828 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

while some 11,000 Americans most of the army 
in short had been kept idle on Bemis Heights 
by the incompetent Gates, Burgoyne tried to 
console himself with the idea that he had won a 
victory, because his army slept that night at Free- 
man's Farm; but in his testimony given after- 
ward before the House of Commons, he rightly 
maintained that his plan of attack had been utterly 
defeated by the bold and skilful tactics of " Mr." 
Arnold. 

In the dispatches which he now sent to Con- 
gress, Gates took to himself all the credit of this 
affair, and did not even mention Arnold's name. 
The army, however, rang with praise of the fight- 
ing general, until Gates, who never could bear to 
hear any one but himself well spoken of, waxed 
wroth and revengeful. Arnold, more- 

Quaxrel be- 

tween Gates over, f reelv blamed Gates for not sup- 

and Arnold. ; J / . r 

porting him, and lor refusing to renew 
the battle on the next morning, while the enemy 
Vere still disconcerted. Arnold's warm friendship 
With Schuyler gave further offence to the com- 
mander ; and three days after the battle he sought 
to wreak his spite by withdrawing Morgan's rifle- 
men and Dearborn's light infantry from Arnold's 
division. A fierce quarrel ensued ; and Gates told 
Arnpld that as soon as Lincoln should arrive he 
would have no further use for him, and he might 
go back to Washington's camp as soon as he liked. 
Arnold, in a white rage, said he would go, and 
asked for a pass % which his enemy promptly gave 
him ; but after receiving it, second thoughts pre- 
vented him from going. All the general officers 



SARATOGA. 329 

except Lincoln who seems to have refrained 
from unwillingness to give umbrage to a com- 
mander so high in the good graces of Massachu- 
setts as Gates united in signing a letter en- 
treating Arnold to remain. He had been sent 
here by Washington to aid the northern army 
with all his might, and clearly it would be wrong 
to leave it now, on the eve of a decisive battle. 
So the proud, fiery soldier, smarting under an ac- 
cumulation of injuries, made up his mind once 
more to swallow the affront, and wait for a chance 
to make himself useful. He stayed in his quar- 
ters, awaiting the day of battle, though it was not 
clear how far he was entitled, under the circum- 
stances, to exercise command, and Gates took no 
more notice of him than if he had been a dog. 

Nothing more was done for eighteen days. Just 
before the crossing of the Hudson by the northern 
army, Sir Henry Clinton, acting " as circumstances 
may direct," had planned an expedition up the 
river in aid of it ; and Burgoyne, hearing of this 
the day after the battle at Freeman's Farm, 
thought it best to wait a while before undertaking 
another assault upon the American lines. But 
things were swiftly coming to such a pass that it 
would not do to wait. On the 21st, news came to 
the British camp that a detachment of Lincoln's 
troops had laid siege to Ticonderoga, and, while 
holding the garrison in check, had captured sev- 
eral ships and taken 300 prisoners. A 
day or two later came the news that these 
New Englanders had embarked on Lake 
George in the ships they had captured, and were 



330 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

cutting off the last sources of supply. And now f 
while even on shortest rations there was barely 
three weeks' food for the army, Lincoln's main 
force appeared in front, thus swelling the num 
bers of the American army to more than 16,000 
The case had become as desperate as that of the 
Athenians at Syracuse before their last dreadful 
battle in the harbour. So, after eighteen weary 
days, no word yet coming from Clinton, the gal- 
lant Burgoyne attempted, by a furious effort, to 
break through the lines of an army that now out- 
numbered him more than three to one. 

On the morning of October 7th, leaving the rest 
of his artny in camp, Burgoyne advanced with 
1,500 picked men to turn the American left. Small 
as the force was, its quality was superb, and with 
it were the best commanders, Phillips, Bledesel, 
Fraser, Balcarras, and Ackland. Such a compact 
force, so ably led, might manoeuvre quickly. If, 
on sounding the American position on the left, 
they should find it too strong to be forced, they 
might swiftly retreat. At all events, the move- 
ment would cover a foraging party which Bur- 
goyne had sent out, and this was no small 
matter. Arnold, too, the fighting general, it was 
reported, held no command ; and Gates was known 
to be a sluggard. Such thoughts may have helped 
to shape the conduct of the British com- 

Second battle r . . . 

at Freeman's mander on this critical morning. But 

Farm, Oct. 7; to 

the British the scheme was swif tlv overturned. As 

totally de- . ^ 

feated by Ar- the British came on, their right was sud- 
denly attacked by Morgan, while the 
New England regulars with 3,000 New York mill-* 



SARATOGA. 331 

tia assailed them 111 front. After a short, sharp 
fight against overwhelming numbers, their whole 
line was broken, and Fraser sought to form a second 
line a little farther back and on the west border 
of Freeman's Farm, though the ranks were badly 
disordered and all their cannon were lost. At this 
moment, Arnold, who had been watching from the 
heights, saw that a well-directed blow might not 
only ruin this retreating column, but also shatter 
the whole British army. Quick as thought he 
sprang upon his horse, and galloped to the scene 
of action. He was greeted with deafening hur- 
rahs, and the men, leaping with exultation at sight 
of their beloved commander, rushed upon Fraser's 
half -formed line. At the same moment, while 
Morgan was still pressing on the British right, one 
of his marksmen shot General Fraser, who fell, 
mortally wounded, just as Arnold charged with 
mad fury upon his line. The British, thus assailed 
in front and flank, were soon pushed off the field. 
Arnold next attacked Lord Balcarras, who had re- 
tired behind intrenchments at the north of Free- 
man's Farm ; but finding the resistance here too 
strong, he swept by, and charged upon the Cana- 
dian auxiliaries, who occupied a position just north 
of Balcarras, and covered the left wing of Brey- 
inann's forces at the extreme right of the British 
camp. The Canadians soon fled, leaving Breymann 
uncovered ; and Arnold forthwith rushed against 
Breymann on the left, just as Morgan, who had 
prolonged his flanking march, assailed him on the 
right. Breymann was slain and his force routed ; 
the British right wing was crushed, and their whole 



882 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

position taken in reverse and made untenable. Just 
at this moment, a wounded German soldier, lying 
on the ground, took aim at Arnold, and slew his 
horse, while the ball passed through the general's 
left leg, that had been wounded at Quebec, and 
fractured the bone a little above the knee. As Ar- 
nold fell, one of his men rushed up to bayonet the 
wounded soldier who had shot him, when the pros- 
trate general cried, " For God's sake, don't hurt 
him ; he 's a fine fellow ! " The poor German was 
saved, and it has been well said that this was the 
hour when Benedict Arnold should have died. His 
fall and the gathering twilight stopped the progress 
of the battle, but the American victory was com- 
plete and decisive. Nothing was left for Burgoyne 
but to get the wreck of his army out of the way as 
quickly as possible, and the next day he did so, 
making a skilful retreat upon Saratoga, in the 
course of which, during a skirmish, his soldiers 
burned General Schuyler's princely country-house, 
with its barns and granaries. 

As the British retreated, General Gates steadily 
closed in upon them with his overwhelming forces, 
which now numbered nearly 20,000. Gates to 
give him due credit* knew how to be active 
after the victory, although, when fighting was go- 
ing on, he was a general of sedentary habits. 
When Arnold rushed down, at the critical mo- 
ment, to complete the victory of Saratoga, Gates 
sent out Major Armstrong to stop him, " Call 
back that fellow," said Gates, "or he will be 
doing something rash ! " But the eager Arnold 
had outgalloped the messenger, and came back 




SECOND BATTLE AT FREEMAN'S FARM, CALLED BATTLE 

OF BEMIS HEIGHTS, OR OF STILLWATER 

OCTOBER 7, 1777 



SARATOGA. 838 

only when Ms leg was broken and the victory won. 
In the mean time Gates sat at his headquarters, 
forgetful of the battle that was raging below, while 
he argued the merits of the American Revolution 
with a wounded British officer, Sir Francis Clarke, 
who had been brought in and laid upon the com- 
mander's bed to die. Losing his temper in the 
discussion, Gates called his adjutant, Wilkinson, 
out of the room, and asked him, " Did you ever 
hear so impudent a son of a b h ? " And this 
seems to have been all that the commanding gen- 
eral contributed to the crowning victory of Sara- 
toga. 

"When Burgoyne reached the place where he had 
crossed the Hudson, he found a force of 3,000 
Americans, with several batteries of cannon occu- 
pying the hills on the other side, so that it was now 
Impossible to cross. A council of war 
decided to abandon all the artillery and army is sur- 
baggage, push through the woods by 
night, and effect a crossing higher up, by Fort Ed- 
ward, where the great river begins to be fordable. 
But no sooner had this plan been made than word 
was brought that the Americans were guarding all 
the fords, and had also planted detachments in a 
strong position to the northward, between Fort 
Edward and Fort George. The British army, in 
short, was surrounded. A brisk cannonade was 
opened upon it from the east and south, while Mor- 
gan's sharpshooters kept up a galling fire in the 
rear. Some of the women and wounded men were 
sent for safety to a large house in the neighbour- 
hood, where they took refuge in the cellar; and 



334 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

tliere the Baroness Riedesel tells us how she passed 
six dismal nights and days, crouching in a corner 
near the doorway, with her three little children 
clinging about her, while every now and then, 
with hideous crashing, a heavy cannon-ball passed 
through the room overhead. The cellar became 
crowded with crippled and dying men. But little 
food could be obtained, and the suffering from 
thirst was dreadful. It was only a few steps to 
the river, but every man who ventured out with a 
bucket was shot dead by Virginia rifles that never 
missed their aim. At last the brave wife of a 
British soldier volunteered to go; and thus the 
water was brought again and again, for the Amer- 
icans would not fire at a woman. 

And now, while Burgoyne's last ray of hope was 
dying, and while the veteran Phillips declared him- 
self heartbroken at the misery which he could not 
relieve, where was Sir Henry Clinton? He had 
not thought it prudent to leave New York until 
ciinton comes a ^ er ^ e arrival of 3,000 soldiers whom 
2wfbuutto ke expected from England. These men 
too 'late. arrived on the 29th of September, but 
six days more elapsed before Sir Henry had taken 
them up the river and landed them near Putnam's 
headquarters at Peekskill. In a campaign of 
three days he outwitted that general, carried two 
of the forts after obstinate resistance, and com-- 
pelled the Americans to abandon the others ; and 
thus laid open the river so that British ships might 
go up to Albany. On the 8th of October, Sir 
Henry wrote to Burgoyne from Fort Montgomery : 
"Nous y void, and nothing between us and Gates. 



SARATOGA. 335 

I sincerely liope this little success of ours will 
facilitate your operations." This dispatch was 
written on a scrap of very thin paper, and encased 
in an oval silver bullet, which opened with a tiny 
screw in the middle. Sir Henry then sent Gen- 
eral Vaughan, with several frigates and the greater 
part of his force, to make all haste for Albany* 
As they passed up the river, the next day, they 
could not resist the temptation to land and set fire 
to the pretty village of Kingston, then the seat of 
the state legislature. George Clinton, governor of 
the state, just retreating from his able defence of 
the captured forts, hastened to protect the village, 
but came up only in time to see it in flames from 
one end to the other. Just then Sir Henry's mes- 
senger, as he skulked by the roadside, was caught 
and taken to the governor. He had been seen 
swallowing something, so they gave him an emetic, 
and obtained the silver bullet. The dispatch was 
read ; the bearer was hanged to an apple-tree ; and 
Burgoyne, weary with waiting for the news that 
never came, at last sent a flag of truce to General 
Gates, inquiring what terms of surrender would 
be accepted. 

Gates first demanded an unconditional surrender, 
but on Burgoyne's indignant refusal he consented 
to make terms, and the more readily, 

11 -IT- Burgoyne suiv 

no doubt, since he knew what had just renders, Oct. 
happened in the Highlands, though his 
adversary did not. After three days of discussion 
the terms of surrender were agreed upon. Just as 
Burgoyne was about to sign the articles, a Tory 
made his way into camp with hearsay news that 



S36 THIS AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

part of Clinton's army was approaching Albany. 
The subject was then anxiously reconsidered by 
the British officers, and an interesting discussion 
ensued as to whether they had so far pledged their 
faith to the surrender that they could not in honour 
draw back. The majority of the council decided 
that their faith was irrevocably pledged, and Bur- 
goyne yielded to this opinion, though he did not 
share it, for he did not feel quite clear that the 
rumoured advance of Clinton could now avail to 
save him in any case. In this he was undoubtedly 
right. The American army, with its daily accre- 
tions of militia, had now grown to more than 
20,000, and armed yeomanry were still pouring in 
by the hundred. A diversion threatened by less 
than 3,000 men, who were still more than fifty 
miles distant, could hardly have averted the doom 
of the British army. The only effect which it did 
produce was, perhaps, to work upon the timid 
Gates, and induce him to offer easy terms in or- 
der to hasten the surrender. On the 17tli of 
October, accordingly, the articles were signed, ex- 
changed, and put into execution. It was agreed 
that the British army should march out of camp 
with the honours of war, and pile their arms at an 
appointed place ; they should then march through 
Massachusetts to Boston, from which port they 
might sail for Europe, it being understood that none 
of them should serve again in America during the 
war ; all the officers might retain their small arms, 
and no one's private luggage should be searched 
or molested. At Burgoyne's earnest solicitation 
the American general consented that these proceed- 



SARATOGA. 831 

Ings should be styled a " convention," instead of 
a surrender, in imitation of the famous Conven- 
tion of Kloster-Seven, by which the Duke of Cum- 
berland, twenty years before, had sought to save 
his feelings while losing his army, beleaguered by 
the French in Hanover. The soothing phrase has 
been well remembered by British historians, who 
to this day continue to speak of Burgoyne's sur- 
render as the " Convention of Saratoga." 

In carrying out the terms of the convention, both 
Gates and his soldiers showed praiseworthy deli- 
cacy. As the British marched off to a meadow 
by the river side and laid down their arms, the 
Americans remained within their lines, refusing 
to add to the humiliation of a gallant enemy by 
standing and looking on. As the disarmed sol- 
diers then passed by the American lines, says 
Lieutenant Anbury, one of the captured officers, 
"I did not observe the least disrespect or even 
a taunting look, but all was mute astonishment 
and pity." Burgoyne stepped up and handed his 
sword to Gates, simply saying, "The fortune of 
war, General Gates, has made me your prisoner." 
The American general instantly returned the 
sword, replying, " I shall always be ready to tes- 
tify that it has not been through any fault of your 
excellency." When Baron Biedesel had been pre- 
sented to Gates and the other generals, he sent 
for his wife and children. Set free at last from 
the dreadful cellar, the baroness came with some 
trepidation into the enemy's camp; but the only 
look she saw upon any face was one of sympathy. 
" As I approached the tents," she says, " a noble- 



338 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

looking gentleman came toward me, and took the 
children out o tlie wagon ; embraced and kissed 
them ; and then, with tears in Ms eyes, helped 
me also to alight. . , . Presently he said, ' It may 
"be embarrassing to you to dine with so many gen- 
tlemen. If you will come with your children to 
my tent, J. will give you a frugal meal, but one 
that will at least be seasoned with good wishes. 9 
* Oh, sir,' I cried, 6 you must surely be a husband 
and a father, since you show me so much kind- 
ness ! ' I then learned that it was General Schuy- 
ler." 

Schuyler had indeed come, with unruffled soul, 
to look on while the fruit which he had sown, with 
the gallant aid of Stark and Herkimer, Arnold 
and Morgan, was plucked by an unworthy rival. 
He now met Burgoyne, who was naturally pained 
and embarrassed at the recollection of the beauti- 
ful house which his men had burned a few days 
before. In a speech in the House of Commons, 
some months later, Burgoyne told how Schuyler 
schuyier's received him. " I expressed to General 
magnanimity. gc^y^" says Burgoyne, " my regret 
at the event which had happened, and the reasons 
which had occasioned it. He desired me to think 
no more of it, saying that the occasion justified it, 
according to the rules of war. . . . He did more s 
he sent an aide-de-camp to conduct me to Albany, 
in order, as he expressed it, to procure me better 
quarters than a stranger might be able to find. 
This gentleman conducted me to a very elegant 
house, and, to my great surprise, presented me to 
Mrs. Schuyler and her family; and in this gen 



SARATOGA. 339 

eral's house 1 remained during my whole stay at 
Albany, with a table of more than twenty covers 
for me and my friends, and every other possible 
demonstration of hospitality." Madame Bledesel 
was also invited to stay with the Sclmylers ; and 
when first she arrived in the house, one of her little 
girls exclaimed, " Oh, mamma ! Is this the palace 
that papa was to have when he came to America ? n 
As the Schuylers understood German, the baroness 
coloured, but all laughed pleasantly, and put her at 
ease. 

With the generosity and delicacy thus shown 
alike by generals and soldiers, it is painful, though 
Instructive, to contrast the coarseness and bad 
faith with which Congress proceeded to treat the 
captured army. The presence of the troops in and 
about Boston was felt to be a hardship, and Gen- 
eral Heath, who commanded there, wrote to Wash- 
ington, saying that if they were to stay Bad faith of 
till cold weather he hardly knew how to Con s reas - 
find shelter and fuel for them. Washington re- 
plied that they would not be likely to stay long, 
since it was clearly for Howe's interest to send 
them back to England as soon as possible, in order 
that they might replace other soldiers who would 
be sent over to America for the spring campaign,. 
Congress caught up this suggestion with avidity, 
and put it to uses the furthest possible removed 
from Washington's meaning. When Sir William 
Howe proposed Newport as a point from which 
the soldiers might more speedily be shipped, 
Washington, for sound and obvious reasons, urged 



340 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

that there should be BO departure from the strict 
letter of the convention. Congress forthwith not 
only acted upon this suggestion so far as to refuse 
Sir William Howe's request, but it went on gra- 
tuitously and absurdly to charge the British, gen- 
eral with bad faith. It was hinted that lie secretly 
intended to bring tlie troops to New York for im- 
mediate service, in defiance of the convention, and 
Congress proceeded to make this imputed treach- 
ery the ground for really false dealing on its own 
part. When Lord Howe's transports reached 
Boston, it was not only ordered that no troops 
should be allowed to embark until all the accounts 
for their subsistence should have been settled, but 
it was also required that these accounts should be 
liquidated in gold. In the Instructions given to 
General Washington a year before, a refusal on 
the part of anybody to receive the Continental 
paper money was to be treated as a high misde- 
meanour. Now Congress refused to take its own 
money, which had depreciated till it was worth 
barely thirty cents on a dollar. The captured 
army was supplied with provisions and fuel that 
were paid for by General Heath with Continental 
paper, and now Congress insisted that General 
Burgoyne should make his repayment dollar for 
dollar in British gold, worth three times as much. 
In fairness to the delegates, we may admit that in 
all probability they did not realize the baseness of 
this conduct. They were no doubt misled by one 
of those wonderful bits of financial sophistry by 
which the enacting mind of our countrymen has so 
often been hopelessly confused. In an amusing 



SARATOGA. 341 

letter to Washington, honest General Heath 
naively exclaims, " What an opinion must General 
Burgoyne have of the authority of these states, to 
suppose that his money would be received at any 
higher rate than our own in public payment! 
Such payment would at once be depreciating our 
currency with a witness." Washington was se*. 
riously annoyed and mortified by these vagaries, 
the more so that he was at this very time en- 
deavouring to arrange with Howe a general cartel 
for the exchange of prisoners ; and he knew that 
the attempt to make thirty cents equal to a dollar 
would, as he said, " destroy the very idea of a car- 
tel." 

While these discussions were going on, Congress, 
like the wicked king in the fairy tale, anxious to 
impose conditions unlikely to be fulfilled, de- 
manded that General Burgoyne should make out a 
descriptive list of all the officers and soldiers in his 
army, in order that if any of them should there- 
after be found serving against the United States 
they might be punished accordingly. As no such 
provision was contained in the convention, upon 
the faith of which Burgoyne had surrendered, he 
naturally regarded the demand as insulting, and 
at first refused to comply with it. He afterwards 
yielded the point, in his eagerness to liberate his 
soldiers ; but meanwhile, in a letter to Gates, he 
had incautiously let fall the expression, " The pub- 
lick faith is broke [sic] ; " and this remark, com- 
ing to the ears of Congress, was immediately laid 
hold of as, a pretext for repudiating the convention 
altogether. It was argued that Burgoyne had 



842 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

charged the United States with bad faith, in order 
to have an excuse for repudiating the convention 
on his own part ; and on the 8th of January, Con- 
gress accordingly resolved, " that the embarkation 
of Lieutenant-General Burgoyne and the troops un- 
der his command be suspended till a distinct and 
explicit ratification of the Convention of Saratoga 
shall be properly notified by the court of Great 
Britain to Congress." JSTow as the British govern- 
ment could not give the required ratification with- 
out implicitly recognizing the independence of the 
United States, no further steps were taken in the 
matter, the " publick faith " was really broken, 
and the captured army was never sent home. 

In this wretched affair, Congress deliberately 
sacrificed principle to policy. It refused, on paltry 
pretexts, to carry out a solemn engagement which 
had been made by its accredited agent ; and it did 
so simply through the fear that the British army 
might indirectly gain a possible reinforcement. Its 
The behaviour conduct can be justified upon no grounds 
was SSpiy in- save sucn as would equally justify firing 

excusable. upon flagg Q f imQ ^ Nor can j t be ^ 

Hated even upon the lowest grounds of expediency, 
for, as it has been well said, u to a people strug- 
gling for political life the moral support derivable 
from the maintenance of honour and good faith was 
worth a dozen material victories." This sacrifice 
of principle to policy has served only to call down 
the condemnation of impartial historians, and to 
dim the lustre of the magnificent victory which the 
valour of our soldiers and the self-devotion of our 
people had won in the field. It was one out of 



SARATOGA. S4S 

many Instances which show that, under any form 
of government, the moral sense of the governing 
"body is likely to fall far below the highest moral 
standard recognized in the community. 

The captured army was never sent home. The 
officers were treated as prisoners of war, and from 
time to time were exchanged. Burgoyne was al- 
lowed to go to England in the spring, 

i i -1 j_'n , -, "What became 

and wmle still a prisoner on parole, he of the cap- 
took his seat in Parliament, and became- Ure anay * 
conspicuous among the defenders of the American 
cause. The troops were detained in the neighbour- 
hood of Boston until the autumn of 1778, when 
they were all transferred to Charlottesville in Vir- 
ginia. Here a rude village was built on the brow 
of a pleasant ridge of hills, and gardens were laid " 
out and planted. Much kind assistance was ren- 
dered in all this work by Thomas Jefferson, who 
was then living close by, on his estate at Monti- 
cello, and did everything in his power to make 
things comfortable for soldiers and officers. Two 
years afterward, when Virginia became the seat 
of war, some of them were removed to Winchester 
in the Shenandoah valley, to Frederick in Mary- 
land, and to Lancaster in Pennsylvania. Those 
who wished to return to Europe were exchanged 
or allowed to escape. The greater number, espe- 
cially of the Germans, preferred to stay in this 
country and become American citizens. Before 
the end of 1783 they had dispersed in 'all direc- 
tions. 

Such was the strange sequel of a campaign 
which, whether we consider the picturesqueness of 



844 THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

its Incidents or the magnitude of its results, was one 
o the most memorable in the history of mankind. 
Its varied scenes, framed in landscapes of grand 
and stirring beauty, had brought together such 
types of manhood as the feathered Mohawk sachein, 
the helmeted Brunswick dragoon, and the blue 
f rocked yeoman of New England, types of an- 
cient barbarism, of the militancy bequeathed from 
the Middle Ages, and of the industrial democracy 
that is to 'possess and control the future of the 
world. These men had mingled in a deadly strug- 
gle for the strategic centre of the Atlantic coast 
of North America, and now the fight had ended 
in the complete and overwhelming defeat of the 
forces of George III. Four years, indeed, four 
years of sore distress and hope deferred, were 
yet to pass before the fruits of this great victory 
could be gathered. The independence of the 
"united States was not yet won ; but the triumph 
at Saratoga set in motion a train of events from 
which the winning of independence was destined 
surely to follow. 





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